Digital Marketing Strategy: Delivering The Apple First Approach To Search

19 Sep 2014

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One week on from the Apple Keynote Launch Event and our initial thoughts of how your digital marketing strategy will be affected have now had time to take shape.

For those playing along at home, your current natural search campaign strategy should already include, best practice approaches to search rankings, content optimisation, link building and responsive design. Whereas your paid search campaign should include, creative display advertising, in-app advertising and mobile bidding, but how will combined search efforts measure up to all 4.7 and 5.5 inches of Apple’s latest iPhone offerings?

Natural Search

The ‘bigger’ handset game has been a one-man show for quite some time now, with Samsung fortifying their position as industry leaders with the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy mega 5.8 and Samsung Galaxy Mega 6.3 respectively, for extensive multimedia viewing, web browsing and more.

Having waited in the shadows for over a year, Apple last week answered Samsung’s call for a challenger with the launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. And it makes perfect sense that the industry increase the size of handsets, as each month there is an increasing amount of people switching from PCs to tablets and mobile devices to browse the Internet.

But is it really a wise move to essentially eradicate the humble tablet and replace it with a larger mobile? Or ‘Phablet’, as experts have dubbed the new class of mobile devices, designed to allow for more interactive and seamless user experiences online. What does this mean for your natural search campaign? And does this spell the end for designing for the mobile first approach?

As we suggested last week, the changes to the physical product offering will shift the retail space available to search engines, with more paid advertising expected to appear in search results. This will mean that traditional attitudes and priorities of day to day activity for natural search campaigns will need to be adjusted, as sites will be pushed outside of their usual page rankings, which will decrease views, clicks and click through rates.

Furthermore, as Google continues to update its approach to ranking relevant sites and rollout of updates such as the Penguin and Google Knowledge Graph, which has already affected changes to rankings, we will start to see natural search move away from keyword rankings and content focused search to contextualised search. With much speculation surrounding the direction of best practice approach to natural search campaigns, we look again to our dear friend Google to set the bar in planning for the future and understanding what we are really up against.

Paid Search

When it comes to mobile advertising size really does matter. It is all about screen monopoly: the more screen real estate your advert monopolises the better chance you have of someone clicking it. When advertising on mobile it’s vital to ensure that your ad is in the number one spot. Why? Because on mobile devices there is only one top position. On desktop browsers there are typically three spots at the top of the page above the organic results, but on mobile there is just one top position to fill.

This could all be about to change, however, with the release of the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The industry has been moving towards bigger handsets for a while now, but now that Apple has taken the plunge, it’s likely that we will start to see changes to algorithms to ensure heightened user experience, not least for the 4 million people who pre-ordered the two new iPhone models in the first 24 hours after launch. 40% of smartphone users in the US use an Apple product, whilst the Apple smartphone market share in the UK is an impressive 29%, therefore any major changes will impact a huge number of people.

With an increased screen size we could start to see additional adverts appearing at the top of mobile SERPs. We could start to see bid reduce; now competing for multiple ad positions in place of the single spot. This could have a huge impact on smaller advertisers without the budget to compete with the big dogs, and venture into the world of mobile where previously they had not seen any success. Ultimately we will have to wait and see what the actual repercussions in PPC are, but it’s looking like big changes are afoot, and it will be interesting to see just how they are played out.

And it is not just paid search which could see some changes. Facebook and Twitter are leaders in the mobile ad industry and the larger screens and faster processors in the iPhone 6 and 6 plus provide the potential for more engaging ad types, rich media and increased flexibility in the mobile ad market.

Want To Know More?

If you have any concerns surrounding your current natural or paid search campaigns and want to talk strategy, why not get in contact with one of our digital marketing specialists as they talk you through the latest industry updates that will no doubt assist you in adapting and delivering a full-proof apple first approach for improved online performance.