• [end-August] Digital Marketing News: What Caught Our Attention Sep 3, 2019
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    In this digital marketing news roundup, we cover an in-depth analysis of review counts, ratings and their effect on revenue, Google’s advanced account protection features in G Suite and research showing how much value consumers assign to various apps.

    “Instead of interrupting, work on attracting.” – Dharmesh Shah

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news:
    1. The impact of online reviews on small businesses and their revenue
    2. New protection for users, data and apps in G Suite
    3. A study examining how much users are willing to pay to use the most popular apps (if a subscription fee were required)
    Let’s dig in.

    Do Review Counts Matter More Than Star Ratings?
    Reviews matter. What’s not quite clear though is the relationship between reviews, star ratings and revenue, although there have been several academic studies on this.

    Why are we telling you this? Small business SaaS provider Womply has released a large-scale study showing a strong connection between reputation management and revenue across multiple industries.

    In performing its analysis, the company looked at reviews and transactions data for more than 200K small businesses across dozens of industries. The key difference between this study and others on the subject of reviews is local business transaction data. Womply was able to connect review and presence management best practices with revenue outcomes.
    In brief, the study found:
    • Businesses claiming their listings on multiple sites earn 58% more revenue
    • Responses to reviews average 35% more revenue
    • Businesses with ratings of 3.5 to 4.5 stars earn more than those with higher and lower ratings
    • More reviews (than average) across sites generate 54% more revenue
    Claim and Respond
    According to Womply, businesses that didn’t claim their listings averaged $72K less in annual revenue. Claiming listings on key sites like Google My Business enables customers to find and engage with businesses more readily.

    It comes as no surprise that consumers also appear more inclined to buy from businesses that respond to online reviews. This may be because they assume those responding to reviews offer better service. According to the study, 75% of businesses don’t respond to their online reviews. However, those that do earn considerably more revenue.
    An interesting caveat appears to be one of diminishing returns. Businesses responding to more than half of their reviews weren’t earning more than those responding to between 25% and 50%. The study doesn’t segment by positive or negative review responses.

    The Optimal Rating Range
    The SaaS provider also discovered an optimal star-rating range. Obviously, businesses don’t have control over ratings. But, the company found that businesses in the 3.5 to 4.5 star range had more average revenue than those below or above, including those with 5-star ratings.

    Womply offers two reasons to potentially explain the under-performance of 5-star businesses compared with the ones in the optimal range:
    • Five-star businesses tend to have fewer reviews
    • Consumers may be more sceptical of 5-star businesses (assuming manipulation)
    Review Counts Trump Reviews
    One other thing the study discovered, review counts were more strongly correlated with revenue performance than average star ratings. According to the company, “businesses with more than the average number of reviews bring in 82% more in annual revenue than businesses with review counts below average.” We suspect, however, that below a minimum star-rating threshold this observation would no longer hold up.
    Why should you care? Here’s where we’d like to inject a familiar maxim, “correlation does not equal causation”. Businesses that already ‘get it’ are going to outperform those that do not. In part, because they are being run better. And, these businesses are more likely to pursue and execute local SEO tactics effectively: claim and populate your profile on key sites (GMB, Yelp), respond to reviews and have a program in place that generates a steady stream of reviews in an ethical way.

    One thing not revealed in the study is whether and that percentage of businesses worked with agencies or third party providers. Regardless, and despite the fact that much – if not all – of this might already be known in the business community, the revenue analysis validates the real-world impact of best practices. For further info on the analysis click here.

    New Advanced Protection Features To G Suite Users
    Google has announced several updates to its enterprise cloud platform aiming to improve users, data and app security.

    The new enhancements were unveiled at Google Cloud Next ‘19 conference in Tokyo and they are:
    • Bringing Advanced Protection Program (APP) to the enterprise. The central idea of APP is that it safeguards personal Google accounts from a variety of targeted attacks by the use of a FIDO-compliant hardware security key like Google’s Titan Security Key (TSK). It limits third-party apps that aren’t approved and trusted and enables scanning of incoming email for phishing attempts, viruses and attachments with harmful content. The beta for APP for the enterprise will be rolling out in the coming days. Learn more here.
    • Making Titan Security Keys available in Japan, Canada, France and… the UK. In order to make the above feasible, Google is bringing TSKs to new markets via the Google Store. This marks the first international expansion of the hardware keys, which were only available in the US.
    • Using machine learning to detect anomalous activity in G Suite. Google has rolled out a refreshed G Suite Alert centre which notifies admins of any security risks, including file sharing violations and password leaks.
    • Enabling one-click access to thousands of additional apps. Additionally, to all the above, Google is also bringing support for password vaulted app – legacy apps that require username and password to authenticate – to Cloud Identity customers.
    With passwordless authentication gaining momentum in recent years, it comes as no surprise to see Google investing in IDaaS (Identity as a Service) infrastructure. It’ll certainly make it easy for enterprises to focus on their core business. For further details click here.

    Would Users Pay To Use The Most Popular Apps?
    How much would you pay to use your favourite apps, if subscription fees were required?

    This question became more of a point of focus last year when people started suggesting options as to how Facebook could build an alternative business model to advertising – in order to keep user privacy more secure. Mark Zuckerberg dismissed that notion saying that Facebook will always remain free to use – meaning ad-funded – but still, if you had to pay a subscription fee, how much would a reasonable amount be? What would you pay to subscribe to YouTube or Google Map? What about Snapchat or Instagram?

    To gather more insight into this, the team from McGuffin Group recently surveyed 2,000 app users to get some perspicacity into what they believe would be a reasonably acceptable price to pay for a subscription to their favourite apps. The results highlight some interesting findings:
    As you can see, YouTube is the app users would pay the most to subscribe to – at more than $4 per month, followed by Google Maps and Google Drive. Facebook came in fourth. Though, interestingly, Facebook was also the app that the fewest users would be willing to pay to use.

    You will also notice, LinkedIn comes in at a higher potential price point than Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter, which likely reflects the real-world value of the platform as a job-seeking and professional network tool. Meanwhile, WhatsApp has the highest amount of users who’d be willing to pay to use it – which underlines its value as a connective tool.

    McGuffin’s researchers also note that women would pay 20% more than men for Google Maps, Facebook and Pinterest. Millennials, on the other hand, would pay 78% more for Instagram than baby boomers.

    Of course, each one of these results will be relative to the specifics of the user groups you ask. But, at 2K respondents, these are likely indicative numbers. The trends here would be reflective of broader usage, at least in some capacity. You can check out McGuffin’s full report here.

    Final Thoughts
    Do you have any suggestions or ideas what digital marketing news topics you’d like us to look out for in the future? Write your requests below. We’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

    In the meantime, you can take a look at our email marketing blog for useful advice, tips and tricks. We will also keep you up-to-date with the most recent email news, social media news, search engine news as well as PPC & Ads news.

    This article was originally published on 19 August by EmailOut and can be found here.

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