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Local Search Just Got More Social with Google+ Local

On May 30th, Google officially rolled out 'Google+ Local' to replace Google Places. With the change, Google is providing a more interactive and informative way to search for local restaurants, businesses, and venues- all while taking steps to make their own social network, Google+, more relevant and powerful.

This could be a smart move for Google to drive up the user base of Google+, which still trails Facebook by roughly 800 million users. By integrating local capabilities into Google+ and feeding that information into popular Google Applications (i.e. Maps, Local Search Results, etc.), Google can expose and introduce users to Google+ as they search for local information. In addition, a new user-friendly layout has been implemented, along with the ability for users to see what local establishments their friends visited, liked, and reviewed.

One of the more interesting enhancements to the platform stems from the newly formed partnership between Google and Zagat, a well respected restaurant and entertainment review service. With the addition of Zagat, Google adds more credibility to their local listings while offering users an informative alternative to sites like Yelp, which only offers user reviews based on a 'star'? rating system.

Below is an example of how these changes are unfolding within Google. In this example, we did a search for 'Cheers,'? a Boston bar and tourist landmark.Google+ Local

Once a user clicks on reviews, they are taken to a Google+ Local Page.

Google+Local Page

Since users and businesses are now being forced to use the Google+ interface, it is critical for businesses to embrace Google+. For those businesses who have already contributed information to Google Places, Google will be transferring these accounts over to new Google+ Local pages. Over 80 million 'Places' pages have already been converted to 'Plus Local' pages, and eventually all existing Google Places accounts will be converted. As of now, businesses can still manage their listings through Google Places for Business.

If a business does not currently have an existing Google Places account, then they should establish a Google+ account and update their listings as soon as possible. Once the account has been created, businesses can enhance their listings with a wide variety of assets that will be critical to engaging their audience.

Specifically, businesses should consider taking these steps:

  • Make sure the phone number and address associated with the business are accurate
  • Identify a business category that best fits the company's objectives
  • Upload a profile image that has a strong connection to the brand
  • Customize the Google+ 'About' tab to include:
    • A keyword rich introduction, which can include a hyperlink back to the company website
    • Hours of operation
    • Website URL
    • Contact information
    • Related links (if applicable)
  • On the 'Photo' and 'Video' tabs, photos and videos should be uploaded to showcase the brand.
  • Promote the new Google+ page on other established social profiles such as Facebook and Twitter. This will help to build brand followers. Google+ allows businesses to group these followers into 'circles'? if they wish to segment this list.
  • Be sure to add Google+ sharing buttons on the business website in addition to Facebook and Twitter sharing buttons. Be sure that these buttons are featured on all articles, blog posts, and press releases, as well as on the homepage.
  • Share content on Google+ in a similar fashion as sharing content on Facebook and/or Twitter.

In conclusion, while Google's intentions with this enhancement are largely driven by the need to increase the user base of Google+, there are many opportunities for smart business owners to leverage the new features, expand their presence, and drive increased engagement with their target audience.

 

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Predicting the 2020 Console War Winner With Google Trends

Console wars were back in late 2020 with the release of the next gen systems. Although one console was the clear winner, both Xbox Series X and PS5 saw record numbers for units sold. We looked to Google search trends to see which console would come out on top. As we continuously look at search trends throughout the year, we noticed that one console stood out over the other. We wanted to see if we could use this data to predict which console would sell more units. Major Date Announcements On September 9th, Microsoft announced that the Xbox Series X would release November 10th. Microsoft also announced the price of both editions, $499 for the Xbox Series X and $299 for the all-digital Xbox Series S. Pre-orders were announced to go live September 22nd. Sony did not release their pre-order or release date info for another week. During the PlayStation Showcase on September 16th, Sony announced the PS5 would release November 12th and would cost $499 ($399 for the all-digital). Sony then ended the event with a surprise announcement that pre orders would go live the following day, September 17th. Pre Orders Google searches for both Xbox Series X and PS5 skyrocketed after the announcements. The search queries with the highest increase in volume were queries related pre orders, price, release date, and retailer availability. Comparing exact match queries, PS5 had almost 4 times as many searches as Xbox Series X for pre orders, price, and release date. According to search trends, the most popular retailer to pre-order an Xbox from was Amazon, and for PS5 was Walmart. Xbox searches September 2020: Xbox series x pre order – 1,800,000+ queries    Xbox series x price – 550,000+ queries    Xbox series x release date – 370,000+ queries Xbox series x pre order amazon – 110,000+ queries PS5 searches September 2020: PS5 pre order – 7,500,000+ queries PS5 price – 1,800,000+ queries PS5 release date – 1,500,000+ queries PS5 pre order Walmart – 300,000+ queries Post Launch According to Google trends, search interest for the PS5 pre orders was double that of Xbox Series X pre orders. The sales numbers confirmed these trends. Through the first 4 weeks of sales, the PS5 sold 1.5 times more units than the Xbox, both globally and in the US. Consoles sold globally through first 4 weeks: PS5 Global sales – 3,368,098 units Xbox Series X global sales – 1,817,303 units Consoles sold domestically through first 4 weeks: PS5 US sales: 1,389,963 units Xbox Series X US sales: 988,641 units After launch, we saw “restock” queries skyrocket as retailers everywhere were completely sold out. We saw similar trends here as we did with pre order queries, with PS5 restock queries outnumbering Xbox Series X queries almost 4 to 1. “Restock” searches November 2020: PS5 restock – 2,200,000+ queries Xbox series x restock – 500,000+ queries “Restock” searches December 2020: PS5 restock – 5,000,000+ queries Xbox series x restock – 800,000+ queries Overwhelming Demand Crashes Retailer Websites Both consoles saw an unprecedented demand online due to COVID-19 restrictions at physical retail locations. This caused retail websites to struggle to keep up with the demand. In some cases, the demand was too much, and the websites went down temporarily. When these sites were down, consumers turned to Google search for answers. During the month of September, the Best Buy website went down multiple times. The queries “is best buy website down” and “best buy site down” had the most volume during that time. “is best buy website down – 5,400+ queries “best buy site down – 2,400+ queries During November, the Walmart website went down on multiple occasions. The queries “Walmart website down” and “Walmart site crash” had the most volume during that time. “Walmart website down” – 6,600+ queries “Walmart site crash” - 5,400+ queries As we continued to track search interest daily, we found there was more buzz for the PS5 over the Xbox Series X. When we compared the most popular keywords for each, PS5 queries had over twice as much volume as Xbox queries. We were able to accurately predict that PS5 would outsell the Xbox Series X, as the search trend data directly correlated to sales. All brands should be paying attention to search trends in order to have a better understanding of the marketplace, their own brand health, and the search interest in their competition. If you liked this article, we invite you to learn more about our SEO services.

AMPlifier - Social Media Industry Update - Week of March 1, 2021

Welcome to the AMPlifier – a spotlight on the latest and greatest industry updates. Whether you want to learn more about this week’s marketing trends, the newest updates to your favorite social media platforms, or simply what meme is currently taking the internet by storm, then read on. You never know what you might learn. TWITTER RE-LAUNCHES TEST OF WARNINGS ON POTENTIALLY HARMFUL TWEET REPLIES Twitter is now re-launching the alerts, with a new format, and further explanation as to why each reply has been flagged. Read more CLUBHOUSE FACES NEW SECURITY QUESTIONS AFTER SIGNIFICANT DATA BREACH The latest comes as a result of hackers gaining access to Clubhouse audio, and re-recording that data into third-party streams. Read more 15 TIKTOK TIPS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR BRANDED CONTENT EFFORTS This overview of tips from the team at Socialtyze covers everything from choosing topics to user demographics to hashtags on the platform. Read more That’s a wrap on this week’s feed. Stay tuned to see what happens next.

AMP Agency Wins 4 Hatch Awards

AMP Agency took home 4 awards last night at the 60th annual Hatch awards that celebrates creative excellence in New England. AMP won bronze awards for the below work: “Eastern Bank’s Color & Capital for Good closing Boston’s wealth Gap” Work for Good Category “Facebook’s Gaming Just Like Us” Film Category “Stop & Shop’s On Your Terms”Design Category AMP also won a Merit award for work done with RXBAR.  Be sure to check out AMP’s article featured in the Boston Globe that looks at the virtual realities of advertising and how flexibility led to a creative growth spurt in marketing in 2020.