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Miranda Miller

Online Marketing News: Predictive Social Tools, Content Marketing & The Customer Journey

By Miranda Miller     Online Marketing News

Brands understand the importance of content marketing, yet most have not yet addressed their content needs on either a strategic or tactical level, according to Altimeter’s Rebecca Lieb.

Researchers for the company conducted interviews with executives actively engaged in content strategy or marketing; their findings were the basis of a new report, Organizing for Content: Models to Incorporate Content Strategy and Content Marketing in the Enterprise. Lieb and report co-authors guide brand marketers through a variety of organizational models for content, with recommendations to help companies execute an effective content strategy. Read the full report on SlideShare.

Trust Can Make or Break the B2B Buyer Relationship: Study

Buyers are overwhelmed by the amount of content available to them, making the content marketer’s challenge greater than ever, according to a new study from Demand Gen Report. Content plays an increasingly important role in B2B purchase decision making, with 68% of survey respondents indicating they rely more on content than they did last year. Variety is key: five out of nine content formats gained in popularity, while only podcasts and interactive presentations lost traction. Researchers found that three specific content formats stand out in 2013: white papers, E-books and webinars.

Sales messages are a huge turnoff for buyers, 61% of whom said sales-heavy content has been a problem for them in the past year. Survey respondents indicated they would like B2B marketers to focus on making content more readable, adding value, and showing their research to their audience.

Google Launches Interactive Customer Path to Purchase Tool

The customer journey is complex, with engagement happening across platforms, devices and possible over a period of time, says Google. Their new tool on the Think Insights website aims to help marketers “explore and understand the customer journey to improve your marketing programs.”

Users can toggle through different industries and countries including the US, Canada, Brazil, UK and Germany in order to see whether channels tend to play an “assist” or “last interaction” role in the typical path to purchase. The length of the customer journey can impact purchase value; Google’s tool also allows marketers to explore combinations of number of days or steps to purchase, industries and countries, with their resultant effect on average order value. In the example above, Google shows that 66% of total US retail revenue comes from purchases made in more than one step. Their findings are based on Google Analytics data and should offer valuable macro-level insight for marketers.

Bing Research Shows Over 50% of Users Click on the First Results on the SERP

The majority of searchers click on the first link available on a search engine results page, with a dramatic reduction in clicks for each position thereafter, according to Dr. Ronny Kohavi from Bing’s Research & Development team. By the time you reach the 8th link on a results page, less than 1% of users will choose it, as shown below.

Bing more than 50% of users will click the first link.

Dr. Kohavi explained in the announcement of their findings, “The figure (above) shows the click-through rate dropping from position 3 on, where position 3 could contain an Instant Answer, or the 2nd web result that was pushed down because there was an Instant Answer above it, etc.”

Expect more changes in the near future. “These are our first steps in dynamically sizing the page,” Kohavi wrote. ” If you’re getting different number of results, you’re probably in one of our ongoing experiments.”

Goodbye, Google Instant Previews

If you noticed that Instant Previews are now absent from Google search results, you’re not alone. Search Engine Land went on a quest to find out what had happened to the feature Google promised on its launch it 2010 would result in greater user satisfaction. After confirming Instant Previews are indeed gone, SEL found an online help thread with a statement from a Googler reading, “Instant previews saw very low usage by our users, and we’ve decided to focus on streamlining the page to benefit more users.”

New Social Platforms Venture Beyond Real-Time Marketing to Predictive?

Two major players and a startup all released new social platforms this month. ClickZ’s Susan Kuchinskas shares details on Social.com, the new offering from Salesforce, and Adobe’s Predictive Publishing for Facebook dashboard plug-in.

It gets really interesting with startup Blab, launched April 9. “We don’t do projections, we do predictions based on the pattern and behavior of the actual conversation,” Tamsen Galloway, vice president of Blab, told Kuchinskas. “We can see where a conversation will be in 24 hours, and how that may change between 48 and 72 hours later.”

Blab social networking platform

Image from ClickZ

Blab uses a “conversation canvas,” as shown above, for each brand interest or goal, ie.: brand mentions, competitor mentions, news around events or topic, etc. Kuchinskas explains, “The platform applies its patented predictive and analytic technologies to data streams from social channels and the web, analyzing some 1.3 terabytes of data at any moment.” This gives brands a unique opportunity to actually get ahead of conversations, with time to craft messaging and content in anticipation of opportunities.

This Week in the @TopRank Community

Members of the @TopRank social community tuned in for TopRank CEO Lee Odden’s content marketing presentation at Content2Conversion this week in New York. Attendees shared livetweets, photos and even a cool takeaways Vine on Twitter throughout the event.

Lee Odden at Content2Conversion 2013

Over in the TopRank Facebook community, 10 fans will each win a copy of Lee Odden’s Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media and Content Marketing as we reach a milestone with 25,000 members in our community. Stop by and check it out; page comments get preference!

Win a copy of Optimize on TopRank's Facebook

Check out the @toprank Twitter channel and stay tuned to #trnews for breaking news across the digital marketing landscape in the weeks ahead!


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