HTTP/2 Is Coming: What Is It and How Does It Affect You?

What Is HTTP2 And How Does It Affect Me_

There are some big changes coming to the web. Things are about to get faster with the introduction of the newest HTTP protocol: HTTP/2.

It’s been over 15 years since the last update and so much has changed in that time. Technology has gotten more sophisticated, consumers demand more from their web experience, and sites have only gotten heavier and speed has become one of the most important factors for UX.

Servers are already beginning to adapt to HTTP/2. As such, it’s time that we begin to learn more about it and begin to understand what we need to know about this very significant change to the internet.

What is HTTP/2?

HTTP/2 is an updated version of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (what we know as ‘HTTP’ at the beginning of web URLs) and is partially based off of Google’s SPDY protocol, which was developed to help improve browser speed and performance when loading websites.

History of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol

The Hypertext Transfer Protocol (otherwise known as ‘http://’) is the protocol that establishes the connection between a user’s browser and a server’s host. HTTP was first documented in 1991 which led to the creation of HTTP/0.9. The current version, HTTP/1.1, was introduced in 1999, which means that an update was going to be coming down the pike sooner rather than later.

How Does This Change Affect You?

Whether you’re a simple user or a web developer, this infrastructure update is something to be excited about. This protocol update will create a faster and more functional browsing experience for users. Since 1.1′s inception, sites have changed dramatically over the 15-plus years of use, and now consist of more images and data than they did when 1.1 was first introduced, which affect the loading time of pages. HTTP/2 will be able to adapt to what we need from a user’s and developer’s prospective.

So What’s Actually Changing?

While there are some great resources that go into the technical nitty-gritty of what is changing, for brevity’s sake we’ll be giving you a simplified overview of the important changes coming with HTTP/2.

Multiplexing

Multiplexing is the ability for the connection to send multiple messages at the same time with one TCP connection. This will reduce the required time to process the requests that are sent and received, improving UX by speeding up site load time.

Before HTTP/2, only one request could be sent and handled at a time, which led to a series of requests on the host which slowed load times. Additionally, some page loads would require multiple connections, which could slow down load times even further. HTTP/2 solves both of these challenges by allowing multiple requests to be handled at once through one connection, resulting in faster connections, improved latency, and faster load times, which will have immediate results to user experience.

 Server Push

Server push is all about saving time, with the server analyzing the client’s next request, sending additional information, even before they’re needed. What this means is, there won’t be any more waiting for the HTML of a page to load until the browser requests the Javascript, or images, or video, etc., as HTTP/2 will allow the server to make faster transmissions by sending “push” responses. Web page load will now be proactive instead of reactive.

Prioritization

Prioritization is about understanding the importance of each element on a web page and transferring the most import requests first. It’s the browser that suggests how the data is to be prioritized, but the final decision on is made by the website’s host server.

So When Does HTTP/2 Roll Out?

Well, good news, it already has. While HTTP/2 might not be the standard HTTP protocol yet, it’s gaining interest month by month. Currently, 6% of all websites are using HTTP/2. In fact, 13.5% of websites that are in the top 1000 used sites in the world are using the new protocol.

What Should I Do?

Nothing, there is no need to do anything to prep you from a user’s point of view, as the change has already started on several sites. Additionally, HTTP/2 is backwards compatible with 1.1, so users won’t notice any difference except for the speed.

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B2B and Paid Search: Is It Effective?

B2B And Paid Search: Is It Effective?

Does paid search, often referred to as SEM (search engine marketing) and PPC (pay-per-click) work for selling to other businesses? Should a B2B company invest in PPC and if so, what are the critical elements for PPC that are needed to generate an acceptable ROI?

PPC Is Effective In Generating Leads and Sales

In a recent large group study of both B2B and B2C companies, PPC was found to be a very effective lead generator. Additionally, the study reported that B2B firms are heavily invested in PPC marketing. The study found that, on average, B2B companies were investing up to one quarter of their total marketing budget on PPC. Also, the study showed that even when a firm had the top position in search results, users still clicked and converted on paid listings nearly 40% of the time.

While PPC Is Effective Organic Is Still Very Important

Organic Search did drive higher performance for branded terms than PPC, however, the opposite was found for non-branded terms (i.e. general keyword phrases used to describe the product without including the name of the product or company). PPC achieved a 78% click share versus the 22% for organic on non-branded terms.

But, Do People Really Click on The Ads?

Search Lab, a prominent search engine research firm, conducted a study and found that 28% of searchers clicked on a PPC listing. Also, they found that only 41% of people tested in the study actually realized they were clicking on an ad when they clicked on the PPC listing.

Another study showed that the click-through rate on PPC listings increased by 60% in 2012 when compared to the previous year. In 2011, the top 10 PPC listings used in the study received 17% of clicks in 2011. A year later, the same top 10 received 28% of clicks.

What Do I Need To Do To Make Paid Search Work for My B2B Business?

Many SEOs do believe that PPC works better for B2C than for B2B. However, if you’re a business seeking a solution to an issue within your company, you might be curious if the ad has compelling text that seems to answer your question. To make PPC effective for your business follow the quick bullet points below:

  • Focus on long-tail keyword phrases to avoid irrelevant clicks
  • Use “exact match” and “negative keywords” to avoid attracting the wrong kind of customer to your business
  • Make your paid search ad text appealing and credible (i.e. no “Buy NOW!!!” stuff)
  • Make sure your ad directly answers your typical customer’s problem or question
  • Make sure that the landing page on the other end of the ad is well designed and relates to the text in your ad
  • Make sure the landing page answers your prospective customer’s questions and offers a Call-To-Action that will generate sales leads.

Using paid ad space for B2B can be a bit more challenging than B2C. There is no one right way to go about it. Test, experiment with different combinations of text, landing pages, keywords to find what works best for you and what helps you bring in the most customers. Also, make sure to link your AdWords account with your Google Analytics so that you can have quantifiable data on what’s working and what isn’t. Do this, and you’ll find that paid search can help become a great lead generator for your business.

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Some Holiday Tips for Ecommerce

With Black Friday looming at the end of the week, and the craziness of the holidays quickly approaching, we wanted to give some great stocking stuffer ideas to give you a boost for your online store.

Make Sure You Have A Mobile Solution

With mobile ecommerce growing at an exponential rate (it grew by more than 28 percent in 2014, more than double the growth rate of desktop ecommerce) and more than half of all shopping done on smartphones and tablets, you’re going to lose customers if you don’t have a mobile solution in place. Thankfully, there’s still a small window of time to implement a responsive design solution for your store and emails.

Give It The Personal Touch

Tailoring the content and UX to each individual user according towards their history of interest, search behavior, and transactions in your store can go a long way towards boosting your sales in the holiday season. Put your user-data to work by identifying your high value customers so you can segment your email lists and send even more personalized (and most importantly) targeted promotions.

Keep the Purchase Process Simple

Recent studies have found that the average cart abandonment rate is 69%. That’s a huge drop, you can avoid this by making the checkout process easy, intuitive, and secure. Allowing guest checkouts, showing a progress bar, accepting multiple payment options, and only asking for the absolute necessary personal information are just a few ways of streamlining the purchasing process.

Free Shipping

Shipping is the #1 reason for shopping cart abandonment during the holiday season. Free shipping continues to be a top driver in purchasing decisions on e-stores. Over half of all shoppers are willing to add more products to their cart to qualify for free shipping and over 80 percent are willing to wait additional time for delivery if shipping is free. If you need a hand getting started with a shipping process, Freeshipping.com can help you get your business a shipping solution to provide free shipping for your products.

 

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Pinterest for Ecommerce

So, if you haven’t heard, Pinterest is now featuring a buy button on product pins on its network. So what does that mean for you and your business? Well, before we get into that, let’s just go over some of the statistics around Pinterest and what has made this one of the most successful social commerce platforms in recent memory.

Not Just Etsy Shop Owners and Recipe Bloggers

In 2013, Piqora did a study analyzing the ROI of using Pinterest, their findings are just the tip of the pin. They found that on average a pin generated 78 cents in sales in addition to 2 site visits and 6 pageviews. Now, by themselves, this might not sound like a lot, but if you’ve got an active board, and your stuff is getting shared, the snowball affect starts very quickly. This is compounded by another survey in 2014 which found that Pinterest users’ average order value was $123.50, which is about 126% higher than the average order value of Facebook’s users. Those are some pretty staggering figures, and like the sub-heading says, it’s not just Etsy shop owners and foodies showing the most success where this is concerned. Big names like Nordstrom are well-known in the pinning-verse.

Pinterest For Your Business

So as you can see, Pinterest is important for e-commerce and is leading the charge in integration between social commerce and e-commerce in general. However, every e-commerce store is different, and they’ll need to find their own way to use Pinterest to its fullest extent effectively. But, here are a few ideas on how to get Pinterest to work for your business.

Tailor Made Boards

When first starting with Pinterest, there is an easy temptation to just create a single board label it, “my company’s board” and call it good. While this is the easy way out, it’s not going to help drive traffic to your board and ultimately your site. Instead of making only a single board, try making multiple boards focused on specific themes or products.

Also, you’re going to want to pin more than just the product photos off of your site. Pinners are looking for ideas or inspiration most of the time, not a specific product so you can’t treat this as just another sales funnel/channel. Additionally, make sure to pin pictures of your products in use along with complimentary photos such as photos that fit the feelings of what your customers feel when using your products.

Pin Optimization

Along with making boards that are tailored towards specific products or services, you’re also going to have to follow some best practices when it comes to setting up your pins. Here a few of them that will help boost your engagement on your Pinterest board.

Firstly, you’re going to want to include a link to the item you’re showcasing, this way, if your prospect wants to learn more, they aren’t just stuck looking at a pretty picture. Next, make sure to include the price of the item with the pin, this will help put them further along the buying process then if it’s just the featured product. Finally, you’re going to want to have between a 200-300 character description. Yes, characters not words, think like Twitter, brevity is King.

What To Include In Your Pin

 

 

 

Now that we’ve gone over what to include with your pin, lets go over what makes an effective image for a pin, seeing as this is the meat and potatoes of Pinterest. According to a study done by Ripen Ecommerce, lighter images are more than 20 times more likely to be pinned over dark images. Additionally, Tall images are shared 67% more often than short ones. Finally, brand images that don’t feature faces within the pin are 23% more likely to get repinned.

What To Include In Your Pin Image

 

Pinterest Optimization Doesn’t Stop At Pinterest

Like the heading says, optimizing your Pinterest boards is only half the battle. To truly capitalize on the referral traffic from Pinterest, you need to make sure your site is prepared for it. According to Pinterest, over three-quarters of their traffic comes from mobile or tablet. What that means, is that you need to make sure that your e-store has a mobile solution, whether that is a mobile site, or your store is responsive. If a pinner lands on a page on your site and it isn’t mobile optimized they’re most likely going to bounce right back to Pinterest.

Put A Pin In It

Social sharing buttons on product listings has become a industry recognized best practice across all social media. Pinterest is no different where this is concerned. “Pin It” buttons and widgets make it easy for customers to share what they like on their own boards. While having relevant pins on your company’s board is great, getting on customers’ boards is fantastic.

Pinterest Isn’t For Everybody

A lot of ecommerce sites have been seeing some amazing success on Pinterest. However, Pinterest isn’t for every ecommerce store. If you have a very visual industry like fashion or cosmetics then pinterest should definitely be part of your social strategy, but more demanding and physical industries like construction or IT should probably look elsewhere since the customer you’re trying to reach most likely isn’t on Pinterest.

For businesses using Pinterest and not seeing a good ROI, I hope these tips help boost your engagement and you see an increase in conversions from it. Curious to see what we can do to help? Give us a call or email us and we’ll see what we can do to help your social commerce flourish.

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