E-Commerce Websites Will Have To Start Paying Sales Tax

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On June 21, 2018, the Supreme Court passed South Dakota v. Wayfair. It was a 5-4 majority, and it means that states may charge tax on purchases made from out-of-state sellers. This new ruling has overturned Quill Corp v. North Dakota, which prevented states from collecting any sales tax from online sales back in 1992.

Since Quill Corp v. North Dakota was passed twenty-five years ago, there’s been an extreme increase in interstate sales via electronic devices. According to the Government Accounting Office, states lost over $13 billion in taxes they could not collect last year.

Up until now, online retailers were not required to charge consumers a sales tax on out-of-state sales, unless the retailer had a physical presence in the state where the buyer was located.

In a recent article regarding this new ruling, The New York Times wrote: “Americans have done more and more of their shopping online in recent years, drawn by the promise of low prices, wide selection, and buy-from-home convenience. But e-commerce has also had another edge: Many of those sales taxes were, in effect, tax-free.”

Another reason South Dakota v. Wayfair passed is to level the playing field between brick-and-mortar stores and online retailers. Online retailers will be required to collect sales taxes from customers in individual states, even if they do have a physical presence in those states.

According to Entrepreneur, states can now choose to tax most internet sales as well as most mail orders. While all fifty states are not currently taxing across state lines, it’s only a matter of time before each state applies this next tax because it will increase state revenues.

What do you think of all of this? Have you thinking about adding an ecommerce section to your website? Contact Sperling Interactive today for a consultation.

Google Is Now Labeling HTTP Sites As “Not Secure”

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This month, Google Chrome has started identifying websites listed as HTTP as “not secure” to its users. This new update comes with Google releasing Chrome 68, its 68th version of Chrome.  

For the past few years, Google has been urging people to make their websites HTTPS, incentivizing them through the potential boost in website ranking if they do so.

Google first announced it would eventually be listing sites as “not secure” back in September of 2016. In January 2017, when version 56 came out, Google Chrome started listing websites that take sensitive information, like credit card information and passwords, that weren’t HTTP as “not secure.” As of this month, Google Chrome will mark all websites that are not HTTPS as “not secure.”

Due to all the efforts Google Chrome has made over the last couple years to make our web more secure, 68% of Google Chrome traffic on Windows and Android systems are currently protected with HTTPS. Approximately 80% of Google Chrome traffic on Chrome OS and Mac is similarly protected.  

To continue to get more websites to make the switch, Google has been offering support for website owners and developers that have mixed content on their website(s). Mixed content is when they’re is HTTP and HTTPS content loaded on the same webpage.

HTTPS deals with encryption. It prevents anyone from tampering with your website. When your website is HTTPS, no one can tamper with the traffic or spy on what your visitors are doing. People can also not access your router and Internet service provider and inject malware.

Emily Schechter, Google Chrome’s security project manager, said “we think that in July the balance will be tipped enough so that we can mark all HTTP sites.”

Do you need help transitioning your website from “not secure” to secure”? Do you want to learn more about Google Chrome 68? Contact Sperling Interactive today. As a full-service web development company, we’re happy to help you with any of your website needs.

What’s Instagram TV?

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Over the past couple of years, Instagram has really experimented with the ways in which users can publish and share content on its platform.

  • A year after Instagram was founded in 2010, it added hashtags so users could find new users to follow. 
  • In July of 2013, it went from being an exclusive photo app to being a video-sharing app as well.
  • A year later in August of 2014, Instagram became advertising-friendly for brands. 
  • In October 2015, Boomerang, a silent video comprised of the first five photos from a one second burst, became all the craze. 
  • In August 2016, Instagram launched Instagram Stories where users can publish short photos, videos, and boomerangs that exist on Instagram for up to 24 hours.

Most recently on June 8, 2018, Instagram introduced what is probably their biggest new feature to date:  IGTV. IGTV is a new product for long-term video content. There is a standalone app for IGTV, but you can also watch IGTV content within Instagram app as well. It’s the TV icon to the left of the direct message icon on the homepage of Instagram.

What makes IGTV different than Instagram Stories is the videos aren’t limited to 15 seconds. Content creators can publish videos in length up to an hour long.

Like YouTube, IGTV has channels and the users are the content for the channels. Interestingly enough, you can upload IGTV content via the web into addition to the app, which has never been something Instagram has allowed before.

Right now, many news outlets and magazines have adopted IGTV. Among them that are using it are BBC News, ITV News, Sky News, Vice, The Economist, Vogue, Fact Magazine, NME,  Esquire, and Exposed Magazine. They are all hoping IGTV will help them reach more people in the 18-29 age bracket.

When Instagram CEO, Kevin Systrom, broke the news last month he said “people are watching 60 percent more video than they did just last year.” He also addressed “teens may be watching less TV, but they’re watching more creators online.” For businesses with target audiences comprised of teenagers and young adults, IGTV is definitely a new tool they should start strategizing for.

There are no ads on IGTV right now, but Systrom did elude it would become a very “reasonable place” for advertisers to promote their products on eventually. Only time will tell when Instagram will roll out advertising for IGTV. We reckon if IGTV will be as big as Instagram is predicting, advertising will happen very soon.  When Instagram announced IGTV, they also shared their platform has just reached 1 billion users.

What do you think about IGTV? Have you started watching content on it yet? Would you ever use it as a way to promote your business? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

The New AdWords Interface

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In a few days, it’ll be July (can you believe that?!) and with that we’ll be in the third quarter. You’re probably thinking now about third quarter goals for your business, and one you should add, is monitoring your Google AdWords account to see if it’ll be switching to the new interface next month.

According to a recent article from Search Engine Land, there’s a chance that the new AdWords interface will be coming to your account this July. Google first announced the new interface two years ago. The Search Engine Land article reports some advertisers have already received notifications from Google that their accounts will switch to the new interface next month. Once the new interface is here, advertisers will not be able to switch back, and some features and reports will not be available in the new AdWords experience. Google will send email notifications before they switch over accounts.

Search Engine Land writes that this switch will not happen overnight, but by the end of the October everyone will be on this new interface. Google has promised it will not change people’s interfaces during November or December.

The article advises that users should learn the new interface as soon as they can. Although Search Engine Land writes that the new interface will be intuitive, it will still be learning curve either way.

Don’t be afraid to contact Sperling Interactive with any of your AdWords questions. We’re available at (978) 304-1730 and info@sperlinginteractive.com.

Amazon Web Services

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You may think of Amazon as your go-to shopping outlet, but did you know they also own the world’s premiere cloud computing service, Amazon Web Services? Since 2006, Amazon Web Services has been helping businesses of all sizes with their computing, data storage, analytics, application, and deployment services. Today, let’s take a look at why you should continue to utilize Amazon and, in particular, this product.

Many major companies use Amazon Web Services.
The streaming giant, Netflix, was one of the first big companies to adopt Amazon Web Services and it did so back in 2009. In 2015, Netflix moved all of its IT operations to Amazon Web Services, and is seen as the first company to make Amazon Web Services more mainstream. Other big companies that utilize Amazon Web Services today include Hertz, Time, Inc., Pinterest, and Airbnb.

We use Amazon Web Services to host our clients’ websites.
As a web development company, we use Amazon Web Services to host our clients’ websites. What’s great about Amazon Web Services is that it’s compatible with the three content management systems (CMS) we use: WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. Amazon Web Services is great as it has the withband to cope with large website traffic without crashing.  

Amazon Web Services is cost effective.
We also use Amazon Web Services because it only charges you for the services you use. There’s no up-front costs or contracts. With Amazon Web Services, you have the option to pay as you go or you can pay on a fixed monthly setup. You can end your relationship with Amazon Web Services at any time, or upgrade or downgrade their services whenever you please.

Amazon Web Services is very secure.
Amazon Web Services has data centers all over the world that are continuously monitored and maintained. The reason Amazon has multiple data centers is that in the event one center has a problem, it won’t impact everyone worldwide. The location of these data centers are hidden, and that’s so no one can break in and obtain their clients’ private information. This makes Amazon Web Services stand out from the crowd. Their product is more reliable and responsible than anyone else’s out there.  

Contact Sperling Interactive to learn more about Amazon Web Services.

Why ADA Compliant Websites Are So Important + How To Make Your Site Compliant

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ADA is an acronym that stands for Americans With Disabilities and it became a law in 1990. This act prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in any area of public life. In January 2018, new federal regulations were put into effect requiring all federal institutions’ websites to be meet AA compliance on all items.

Even if you aren’t a federal regulation, It’s been that more and more ADA compliance lawsuits are winning in court. With most people owning a smartphone and other mobile devices, it’s not a surprise that many of today’s discrimination cases are trickling into the digital world.

Today, any business that is considered a “public accommodation” must have an ADA compliant website. The most common types of businesses people considered to be a “public accommodation” include B2C businesses, retail, or any type of business the public could easily access. We at Sperling Interactive believe that even if you have a B2B business, you should still have an ADA compliant website. This will make you more SEO friendly, and also, who doesn’t want to accessible to all web users?

Other Reasons Why You Should Care

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, more than 1 in 8 Americans have a disability, making them the largest minority group in our country. We’re in the era of the Internet, but that doesn’t ensure everything online is user-friendly for those with disabilities. Another fact from the Pew Research Center is disabled Americans are less likely to be found online. About a quarter of Americans with a disability say they never use the Internet. Disabled adults are 20% less likely to own a traditional computer, smartphone, or tablet. Groups of people who will be impacted by a non-compliant website include but are not limited to  individuals who have impairments with visuals, motor skills, hearing, communication, learning, and cognition.  

How Do I Make My Website ADA Compliant?

Your site probably already has some of the items for an ADA compliance website checked off, but here are some important fixes to make that are a bit more complex .

-The text must meet a minimum contrast ratio against the background.
-Website visitors must be able to navigate the site through their keyboard only.

-Those with a visual impairment must be able navigate with a screen reader software.

-Your website must handle text scaling up to 200% without causing horizontal scrolling or content-breaking layout issues.   

Contact Sperling Interactive today to see how we can make your website accessible for anyone!  

Why Call Tracking Is Important

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Think phone calls are passé in today’s digital world? Think again! These days, marketers are relying on call tracking to optimize their digital advertising efforts.

What is calling tracking?

Call tracking, also known as call analytics, call attributions, and call intelligence, is a form of marketing analytics technology. It helps businesses measure the calls they receive from their websites and pay-per-click campaigns.

Why call tracking works

Phone calls lead to buys. After people engage with a business’ online content, what can push them to buy from that business is a phone call with them. It makes sense. When people make a call, their intent to buy is generally higher and they’re typically further along in the customer-purchasing journey.  Phone calls give them a chance to interact with the company, gain more information from them through asking questions, and ultimately determine if they trust the company.

Call tracking can teach you what keywords are working. The phone calls you receive will tell you a lot about how your campaign is going. If people start calling, asking for a service or product you don’t offer or make, you’ll know that you’ll have to add some more keywords to your negative keyword list and re-adjust your landing pages so you don’t misrepresent your business. In turn, this can improve your search engine optimization.

Call tracking can let marketers know when people are calling. By knowing what times people are calling your business, marketers can better run campaigns and divy up their budgets better so more clicks lead to phone calls.

Call tracking records phone calls. This can be beneficial for businesses as it lets them know how they’re communicating with potential clients and customers and ways in which they can approve. It also teaches them more about their target audience so they can continue to better their marketing and sales tactics and evolve their business.

Call tracking can track outbound calls, too. Outbound calls are just as important as inbound calls. Calling tracking can help you see how your correspondence with a potential customer or client is panning out.

Call tracking can help you see how your marketing efforts are going. With call tracking, you can really see how your marketing efforts are working and what marketing tactics are bringing in leads and conversions because of the data it provides. From there, you’ll know what marketing efforts to spend less time and money on.

Are you interested in installing call tracking for your website and digital marketing campaigns. Call Sperling Interactive today at (978) 304-1730.

The Four Types Of Keywords

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The key to successfully nailing organic search and paid search is keywords. Bidding on the right keywords will allow you to pop up in the search queries your target audience is using. Google and SEO professionals say there are four different types of keywords, and they are worth checking out as they can boost your traffic and relevant clicks.

Broad

Broad keywords are considered by many as the default keyword type. Broad keywords will give you the widest reach. They will match to search queries that have misspellings, synonyms, related searches, words out of order, and anything else that Adwords deems relevant. You want to be careful with broad keywords, though. While they can help you receive a lot of clicks, you want to make sure you’re not getting irrelevant clicks. Always monitor your campaigns and analytics, and make a list of negative keywords as you go along.

Broad Match

Broad match modifier are keywords that have a ‘+’ in front of the keyword. Important to note – you don’t have to put a ‘+’ in front of every word in the query, and the order of the words does not matter. Broad match are right in the middle when it comes to the four types of keywords and can perform pretty strongly. Through the plus sign, you can have better control of where your ads pop up by locking individual words.

Phrase

Phrase keywords are keywords that are put in quotations. For a search query to match a phrase keyword, it must contain all the words, or at least close variants, in the same order without any words in between, with additional words before or after. Close variants include misspellings, singular and plural words, acronyms, stemmings, abbreviations, and accents.

Exact

Exact keywords have the lowest reach, but the highest relevance. Exact keywords are put in brackets. Only ads that match the keywords exactly will pop up.

Need help choosing keywords for organic and paid search? Sperling Interactive would love you to identify the right keywords for your organization.

What Is Market Segmentation

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What is market segmentation?

Market segmentation is a type of marketing where you target specific groups of people. When you do market segmentation, you essentially put your target audience into groups and create specific campaigns geared towards each group. There are four types of market segmentation: geographic segmentation, demographic segmentation, psychographic segmentation, and behavioral segmentation.

Why is market segmentation important?

When you use market segmentation, you show your diverse audience that you respect them because you’re coming at them with marketing that they resonate with. You’re showing you know that even in subgroups, not everyone in your target audience is the same and you hear all of your target audience’s needs and concerns. You basically win over people by not generalizing groups of people.

Geographic segmentation

Geographic segmentation is when you create a specific marketing strategy for people within a certain area. Businesses that really benefit from using geographic segmentation are ones that serve a specific community, sell seasonal products, or companies that just opened a store in a new territory.

Demographic segmentation

Demographic segmentation is a hyper-focused approach. It’s when you target people based on their age, gender, race, religion, family size, ethnicity, income, and/or level of education. This type of market segmentation is favorable for businesses where their audience is a certain demographic.

Psychographic segmentation

Psychographic segmentation is when you market to people based on their personalities. Our personalities are influenced by our values, morals, interests, hobbies, and lifestyle. Psychographic segmentation is another hyper-focused market segmentation. Retail, publishing, and travel are three industries that should use psychographic segmentation.

Behavioral segmentation

Behavioral segmentation deals with consumers’ buying habits. Consumers’ purchases, money, time, and lifestyle all make up this marketing strategy.  With this market segmentation, get into your consumer’s head before you take action. When does your target audience most need you.

Let’s say you own a card company, for instance. You’re most profitable during Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the holidays. The slowest time of the year is August as it’s summertime and there are no holidays. You want to make sure you’re doing the big bulk of your behavioral segmentation marketing during the end of January, the beginning of May, the beginning of June, and the end of November. You don’t want to wait to close to these holidays to start your marketing campaigns as you’ll lose people. With behavioral segmentation, it’s all about reaching your target audience before they make a decision.  

After reading this blog post, do you feel you need help marketing to your target audience? Contact Sperling Interactive today for a plan of action! At Sperling Interactive, we’re all about stretching your marketing dollars further.

 

How To Eliminate Click Fraud In Your PPC Campaign

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Spam or fraudulent clicks can be a leading reason why businesses and nonprofits don’t utilize Google Adwords to promote themselves. It’s an understandable reasoning for a organization to have if they don’t have much knowledge of pay-per-click campaigns. Spam and fraudulent clicks can occur, but they can also be avoided. Continue reading to learn solutions on how to cut down on the amount of spam and fraudulent clicks you receive.

 What are fraudulent clicks?

Fraudulent clicks generally come from competitors and ad publishers looking to get something from your ads. Competitors will repeatedly click on ads to cap out your daily budgets and ad displayers are clicking on ads to give themselves more money. For years, search engines didn’t do much about this, but now they are.

What Google is doing

Of the search engines, Google is doing to the most to decrease fraudulent clicks. Google has created filters to detect fraud and prevent advertisers from wasting money. Google also has Google’s Ad Traffic Quality Team, which manually analyzes clicks before the advertiser is charged, and they investigate when you file a report of invalid clicks. If you use Google Adwords, you can block IP addresses with their feature, IP Exclusions.

How to run your own investigation?

Three things you’ll need are the IP address, click timestamp, and action timestamp. If you see a lot of clicks from a particular IP address and no conversion, there’s a high chance they were fraud clicks.

It might not be fraud

It’s important to note that not every questionable click is fraud. You may just need to adjust your ad targeting. Your targeting could be so broad, which is why you’re receiving a lot of clicks but not a lot of conversions.  

Do you need help running an effective pay-per-click campaign? Call Sperling Interactive at 978-304-1730. We can help stretch your marketing dollars further.