While search engine result pages (SERPs) may be constantly evolving, one facet of search that has withstood the test of time is basic acquisition strategy. Most marketers understand that if you control as much premium space on Page 1 as possible that the users will inevitably follow.
This concept of SERP control strategy is one that has been referred to as the Digital Shelf strategy. It is an analogy to the shelves in the grocery aisle – just as CPG retailers position themselves as efficiently and effectively as possible on the shelves at the grocery store, so do online marketers on SERPs.
Eye level grocery position is the same as Page 1/Position 1; it inherently has more value than the bottom shelf. Odds are good that you will sell more items from that position than you will from the knee level shelf (say Page 1/Position 8). Taking it a step further, control three-quarters of the available shelf space with your products (or SERP slots with your links) and your conversions will further increase.
Although there are a variety of strategies you can implement to make this happen (paid search combined with organic search comes to mind), the popularity of social media offers brands a fantastic way to gather up more digital shelf space.
Search for most any brand and within the top 10 organic links you’ll see SERP real estate (digital shelves) littered with branded social media pages such as Facebook.com/BRAND and Twitter.com/BRAND. The more digital shelves you control with your content and destinations, the greater impact your search strategy will have on your acquisition totals.
Facebook and Twitter pages may be the most obvious examples, but as the number of popular social networks continues to expand, the digital shelf opportunities for marketers will expand as well. Pinterest pages have begun to creep onto the first page of search results, and based on some of the growth figures we are seeing for Tumblr, it seems likely that this popular microblog’s pages will soon become an important part of the digital shelf strategy.
Tumblr’s Showing Outsized Growth and Potential as Marketing Channel
Tumblr offers a standard blogging architecture that is best suited for quick thoughts and small files that you want to share, somewhat similar to Twitter but with an even greater emphasis on multimedia content. Already popular with the creative types and ADD-addled teenagers, Tumblr’s reach and consumption metrics point towards a coming critical mass.
Tumblr’s audience peaked at 26.9 million unique visitors from U.S. desktop computers in July, a 100 percent year-over-year increase.
The smartphone audience growth is even steeper: up 51 percent in the past five months to 6.7 million visitors.
Much of this growth has been like other social networks, driven by mainstream Internet users. But as Tumblr has become more popular, the content has begun to push beyond funny memes being shared among friends and has evolved to include celebrity Tumblrs and brand page Tumblrs, an evolution that seems to closely parallel what happened during Twitter’s ascent a few years ago.
As noted above, social media pages have begun to push onto those ever-so-valuable SERPs. Try running a search for “Beyonce” on Google and you’ll see her Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and YouTube pages all battling for position on Page 1. But if you click to Page 2, you’ll see her Tumblr pop right up as well, so it is only a matter of time before her Tumblr is making a play for Page 1.
Why Marketers Should Start Paying Attention to Tumblr Now
As a marketer it can be difficult to decide how to marshal your resources. For most of us, budgets are pretty limited and prioritization is essential. So if you are already spread thin on your social media/search strategy and you simply don’t have the time or inclination to focus on Tumblr yet, perhaps this final statistic will convince you.
Desktop unique visitors to Tumblr may be up 100 percent year over year, and mobile visitors to Tumblr may be up 50 percent since March, but the number of search visits to Tumblr has climbed nearly 200 percent year-over-year to 24 million search clicks in July.
Maybe Tumblr pages aren’t your bag, but with that kind of growth in search acquisition opportunity, it just might be time to explore this new addition to the digital shelf strategy.