GreyMatters 2017


Happy New Year!

Experts Look at SEO Trends for 2017

trendsAs we enter into a new year, it’s helpful to have an idea of what to expect moving forward. SEO is one of many components of an effective marketing strategy. Econsultancy talked with several experts to get their impressions of what the 2017 SEO landscape might look like.

  • New search considerations. Andrew Girdwood, head of media technology at Signal, says that chatbots will be seen more in 2017. He also believes that voice apps, such as Alexa and Google Home, will become more relevant. He encourages brands to consider how their Alexa “recipes” can be found, as another form of SEO.
  • Mobile growth and semantic strings. Max Holloway, senior search manager, Pi Datametrics, believes that the dominance of mobile search will continue to increase into 2017 and that mobile search volume will remain higher than desktop volume.  He sees more emphasis on mobile-first design and tailoring copy to better accommodate semantic search strings. Pi Datametrics conducted research in 2016 and found that there is still a lot of room for improvement in understanding user search input and in optimizing content for semantic search strings to achieve the best search returns.
  • Artificial intelligence and voice. Will Critchlow, founder & CEO at Distilled sees an explosion in machine learning, which he believes will bring about an improvement in voice search throughout 2017. He sees continued progress in tasks that only humans could do previously – voice recognition and lip-reading, e.g.
  • Accelerated mobile pages (AMP). Both Ruth Attwood, SEO consultant at 4Ps Marketing and Andrew Girdwood at Signal see AMP on the rise due to Google’s influence.
  • A change in SEO procurement. Andrew Girdwood thinks that as people become more proficient at SEO, procurement focus may shift to other areas such as delivery techniques, creative ability, transparent costs and tech access.
  • Mistrust in advertising leads to organic focus. Glynn Davies, head of search strategy, Pi Datametrics, sees digital strategy moving to an increased emphasis on organic reach as a result of the negative impact of click fraud, misreporting, ad blocking, etc., on the performance of paid channels.
  • SEO closer aligned to business strategy. Felice Ayling, SEO and Social Director at Jellyfish, sees traditional SEO performance becoming an intrinsic component of the overarching business strategy, which means that SEO will no longer be a stand-alone channel for implementation. An organization's customer service record, competitive position, price points and service offerings will continue having a greater impact on the overall performance of its digital assets.
  • Progressive web apps (PWAs). Glynn Davies sees an opportunity for content to move out of the mobile app ecosystem and back to the web, which will provide new opportunities and challenges for SEO.
  • Growth in experiential marketing – and possibly VR. Felice Ayling sees "content is king" moving to "experience rules" in 2017. Not only must brands serve up the right content at the right time on the right channel, but they must also deliver the best possible experience to their customers. She believes that the role of SEO and improved organic performance will rely on its ability to utilize new technologies, including in-app use of VR.

Tips To Improve Your Facebook Reach

facebookEverybody is on Facebook. And for good reason, as an overwhelming majority of social marketers say that Facebook provides the best ROI among social media platforms. While ROI can vary among industries and brands, it’s still a good bet that Facebook is worth your time. How can you ensure that your efforts will be effective?

Here are some tips for winning on Facebook:

  • Use native Facebook content. Did your organization produce a beautiful video that’s prominently displayed on your website? You want your Facebook fans to see it, but with organic post reach down to about 2%, that won’t happen unless you change your strategy. In order to get better performance on Facebook, upload that beautiful video to your Facebook video library to share, rather than posting it via a link from your website. Also, create photo albums in Facebook and post from there, rather than from other sources. Share posts from other Facebook pages rather than from outside links.
  • Optimize videos for best results. According to a Facebook VP, the platform will “definitely” be all mobile and “probably” all video within five years. And we already know that videos are 135% more likely than photos to be viewed on Facebook.  Thus, it’s important to have a social video strategy to ensure maximum impact.
    • Set your videos to “autoplay” so that they will start automatically as users scroll through their page feeds and increase the likelihood that users will view them.
    • Live videos are three times more likely to be watched than others, so give them a try. [See our article on using Facebook Live from November, 2016.]
    • Add closed captions to your videos. This is helpful not only for users with hearing issues, but also for users who may be in a situation where they need to mute/silence their devices.
  • Time your post boosting strategically. Timing of posts can really make a difference. Facebook Analytics can help you determine the days/times that your users are most active on your page. Use that data to plan your posts and how you’ll boost them. Consider waiting to boost a post until you see what kind of traction it’s getting. It’s best to wait until engagement picks up before boosting.
  • Get the most out of ad targeting. Boosting posts or running ads on Facebook can be effective, but don’t forget about your targeting strategy to help get the most bang for your buck. Here are some things to consider:
    •  Include those who have been converted by previous ads.
    • Target by interest, but don’t go overboard – try to limit the parameter to no more than four interests per ad.
    • Split testing is a good tool to help you achieve the best results from your ads.
    • Don’t forget geo targeting where appropriate, such as when local events/venues are featured.
    • Consider using Facebook “life events” for targeting. For example, include “expecting a baby” and “new child” life events when targeting for maternity services or pediatric services promotions.
  • Hashtags are for Twitter and Instagram. Recent reports show that Facebook posts with hashtags are less effective than those without hashtags. So, unless you have a campaign in progress with its own specific hashtag, keep your Facebook content hashtag-free.

Using mHealth To Improve Patient Attendance

uberHealthcare organizations strive to provide the best possible service for their patients. However, the best people, facilities and equipment mean little when the patients cannot get to them. A 2005 study found that 3.6 million Americans (including almost 1 million children) miss or delay medical care due to transportation problems, causing a financial waste of $150 million. As a result, many organizations are looking at ways to help patients get to non-emergency appointments and facilities.

The advent of on-demand ride services such as Uber and Lyft has given healthcare organizations an option for solving patient transportation issues. Read on to see how some organizations are working to improve transportation for their patients:

  • Nemours Children’s Health System, Wilmington, DE. Nemours has contracted with RoundTrip, a provider of medical transportation, to provide rides for patients and families who need them. Care coordinators at Nemours’ Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children use an online portal through which they can schedule transportation, document arrival and departure times and map out travel routes. There is also a channel through which patients can rate their transportation experience.
  • Medicare patients in California, New York and Nevada. Ride service Lyft is working with the National Medtrans Network via a web-based dashboard called Concierge to coordinate rides for Medicare patients in the three states.
  • Sarasota Memorial Health System, Florida. The health system’s Voalte mobile health platform includes the Uber app, which providers can use to schedule rides for their patients.
  • Boston Children’s Hospital. Uber has partnered with startup Circulation, whose founders include Boston Children’s, to form a non-emergency medical transportation service.
  • Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The department arranges transportation for Medicaid patients who need help getting to non-emergency medical appointments through a startup called Veyo.

Veyo President Josh Komenda says, “Missed appointments often result in poorer health outcomes and worsened conditions, increasing healthcare costs over time. By using both mobile- and cloud-based technologies and predictive analytics to understand supply and demand in real-time, as well as adjust dispatch schedules and lead times, we’re creating a proactive, next-gen model to healthcare logistics.”

Editorial Tips to Improve Marketing Team Performance

marketersAs marketers, we all have a lot on our plates. If only there was a way to be more efficient and effective. A recent article makes the case for using editorial operations as a guideline for improving marketing operations.

Here are seven tips from the editorial world to guide marketing teams:

  • Learning on the job. Because of the nature of the job, editorial teams rely on strong feedback loops. After an editorial-produced piece is released, strong teams will work together to determine what did and didn’t work and how to improve in the future. While marketing teams certainly have digital dashboards and other tools to obtain feedback, the intuition inherent in editorial teams can be a vital skill for making the most of feedback from marketing tools.
  • The ability to let go. There’s a saying in the editorial world: “Get it right and get it away.” How many times have you seen a seemingly endless circle of reviews before releasing a new marketing piece? If it’s taking forever and a day to get something right, perhaps it wasn’t ever going to be right in the first place. Another component of this tip is having the right content people in place and getting out of their way.
  • Respect for the deadline. In digital, we often have a bad habit of allowing deadlines to become flexible. Sometimes it’s for good reason, but more often, we just didn’t stay on top of things. In editorial, deadlines are sacrosanct. And let’s face it: there’s nothing like a hard deadline to help you get your priorities in order, make decisions and focus on the job at hand.
  • Endless ideation. Brainstorming is a constant for editorial teams. Because they get a lot of practice, these teams develop a sense of which ideas will work best for a given project or goal. And these teams tend to be very democratic – they want what works, not what the senior member of the team thinks will work.
  • Logistical pragmatism. Editorial teams recognize that the impossible is not going to happen, so they go with ideas that are workable and affordable. These teams develop workable sign-off processes and approval responsibilities that are not dependent on a single person.
  • A ruthless streak. Editors go with the strongest content or the most current. Just because something has been completed does not mean it should be used if there is something better available.
  • Courage. Editors often have to show their mettle when making quick decisions about timely and relevant content. Not everyone will always agree with editorial decisions. Yet, these decisions must be made. 

New AMA Guidelines for Health Apps and Digital Health Tools

mobile_appsHealth- and medical-related apps have proliferated over the past several years. While many apps are developed and distributed by reputable organizations, not all of them are. And even when the intent for the app is good, the app may not be very useful or effective.

There has not been much official oversight of apps, from a regulatory perspective. The FDA has been mostly hands-off with medical apps except for those related to high-risk conditions. Some professional societies (e.g., the American Academy of Pediatrics) have developed their own apps, and some have developed standards for evaluating the scientific evidence for digital interventions in their specific area of specialty.

But now, the American Medical Association (AMA) has released guidelines that speak to selection, use, coverage, and payment policies of mobile health apps. These guidelines have been vetted by physicians. As the AMA appears to focus efforts on integrating apps into clinical workflows, patient-physician relationships and reimbursement models, these new guidelines are poised to provide guidance to future advocacy and promotion of health app use, as well as use of other digital health tools.

The AMA aims to support health apps and digital health tools that:

  • Support the establishment or continuation of a valid patient-physician relationship
  • Have a clinical evidence base to support their use in order to ensure mHealth app safety and effectiveness
  • Follow evidence-based practice guidelines, to the degree they are available, to ensure patient safety, quality of care and positive health outcomes
  • Support care delivery that is patient-centered, promotes care coordination and facilitates team-based communication
  • Support data portability and interoperability in order to promote care coordination through medical home and accountable care models
  • Abide by state licensure laws and state medical practice laws and requirements in the state in which the patient receives services facilitated by the app
  • Require that physicians and other health practitioners delivering services through the app be licensed in the state where the patient receives services, or be providing these services as otherwise authorized by that state’s medical board
  • Ensure that the delivery of any services via the app be consistent with state scope of practice laws.