Online Marketing – Online Marketing Blog – TopRank® http://www.toprankblog.com Wed, 25 Apr 2018 10:30:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 Social Media Marketing Benchmarks: What Works & Where to Focus http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/04/social-media-marketing-benchmarks-focus/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/04/social-media-marketing-benchmarks-focus/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 10:02:20 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24087 Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018

Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018

Social media marketers, how are you feeling? Take a minute to breathe if you need to. The last few months have been a wild ride. Fatigue, vertigo, and even a little nausea are perfectly understandable.

As I said before, social media isn’t dying, but it is changing. Marketers are used to quick changes, naturally, but it’s important to be sure we’re making the right changes. We should approach evolving our social media with the same data-driven, strategic rigor that applies to everything else we do.

The good folks at Rival IQ recently published their 2018 Social Media Benchmarking Report. The data points to some clear directions for the next evolution of social media marketing.

Here are some of the key data points – and, more importantly, what you should do about them.

#1 - Influencers Have the Highest Engagement Rate on Facebook

Facebook Engagement Benchmark 2018

The report breaks down engagement by platform and by vertical, which invites some intriguing comparisons. If you’re in the food & beverage industry, congratulations! You’re likely seeing some of the highest engagement.

If you’re not, however, there’s no need to roll out a new Cloud-Based SaaS brand of soft drink. Influencers are also hitting the top engagement rate (a whopping .24%, but more on that later).

What to Do:

TopRank Marketing has been talking about influencer marketing since before it was cool. These stats underline the importance of co-creating content with influencers who are relevant to your audience. It’s incredibly tough for brands to make a connection with organic social. Influencers can provide the person-to-person relationship that most people want out of social media interaction.

Read: Death of Facebook Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

#2 - More Posting Doesn’t Equal More Engagement

The highest post frequency on Facebook is in the Media vertical, with an average of over 10 posts per day. That’s an artifact of an old way of thinking about social media: Flood your page with posts and hope one or two stick. That strategy doesn’t seem to work anymore. Media has the lowest engagement rate, at .08%. Especially with Facebook, upping your posting frequency is counterproductive. The algorithm will show your posts in fewer feeds, fewer people will interact with them as a result, and you start a vicious cycle that ends up slashing your organic reach.

What to Do:

Stick to one or two posts per day, and really make them count. That’s right at the industry average, and seems to be the threshold on most platforms for how much an audience wants to see branded content. If you have ten potential posts, get ruthless: Pick the two that are most interesting, most relevant, most valuable to your audience. Then save the rest for a roundup blog post at the end of the week.

#3 - Engagement Rates Vary Widely by Platform

We tend to talk about social media as though it were a single monolithic platform. Of course we know there are differences between channels, but the report underscores just how much they can vary. The engagement rates for Instagram are above the 1% mark, with some verticals seeing over 3%:

2018 Instagram Engagement Benchmarks

2018 Twitter Benchmarks

While Twitter has an average engagement of .046%. That’s 4 hundredths of a percent, or engagement on one out of every 4,000 posts.

What to Do:

If Instagram fits your brand, and your audience is there, these stats are definitely an endorsement for hopping on the 'gramwagon. But don’t count Twitter out completely. There is a great deal more content posted on Twitter than Instagram, and Twitter moves a lot faster. So that low engagement rate shouldn’t scare you off completely. Instead, use Twitter to boost your brand awareness, provide customer service via social media monitoring, and to engage with potential influencers.

Paid posts on Twitter can also have a powerful impact. One of our technology clients initially ruled out Twitter completely. We were able to prove they had a potential audience on Twitter and helped them run a paid program. In the end, their Twitter engagement was far higher than engagement on any other platform.

#4 - Engagement Is Low on Every Platform

More than anything, the report shows just how low the benchmarks are across the social media spectrum. If an email marketing campaign had a .046% average open rate, we would be throwing in the towel writing our resignations at the same time.

The drop in engagement makes sense, though, with how social media platforms have evolved. They used to be based on delivering all the posts the user opted into seeing. Whatever accounts the person chose to follow, that was what filled their feed.

Now every major social site is curated by algorithm. The user doesn’t control what they see, and neither do brands.

What to Do:

There are two key ways to thrive in the Age of the Algorithm. We’ve already covered the first: Start thinking of most of these channels as pay-to-play. Take your most compelling content and throw some paid promotion behind it on your highest-performing platform. Then A/B test your audience targeting until you find the sweet spot.

The second is to produce the type of content that the algorithm will promote. For Facebook and Twitter, that increasingly means native video. Facebook in particular has been explicit about their favoritism for video. Posts that match what the platform wants to promote will get a bigger initial push, which can help you get engagement, which will signal the algorithm to promote it more.

It’s also a good idea to explore the major platform that’s missing from Rival IQ’s report: LinkedIn*. The reported engagement rate on LinkedIn is .054%, lower than Facebook but higher than Twitter. However, it’s easy to more than double that benchmark with a little optimization, as this infographic from LinkedIn shows.

You can also branch out on LinkedIn by having your C-suite post their own thought leadership content on their own accounts. Personal posts are likely to get more engagement and more shares.

Stay on Your Mark and Don’t Get Benched

Social media marketing is still one of the newest marketing disciplines there is. We’re still developing best practices as the platforms continue to evolve. It’s a little like trying to build a train while you’re going 60 miles per hour down a track built on top of a pool of lime Jell-O.

These benchmarks can provide a starting point for the next iteration of your strategy. They might not speak to your specific vertical or audience, but they do highlight the broad changes taking place across social media. To make sure your train keeps rolling, focus on just a few high-quality posts per day, boosted with paid ads on your most valuable channels.

Need help mastering social media marketing? Here’s how we helped one company expand their reach.

*LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.

The post Social Media Marketing Benchmarks: What Works & Where to Focus appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018

Social Media Marketing Benchmarks Report 2018 Social media marketers, how are you feeling? Take a minute to breathe if you need to. The last few months have been a wild ride. Fatigue, vertigo, and even a little nausea are perfectly understandable. As I said before, social media isn’t dying, but it is changing. Marketers are used to quick changes, naturally, but it’s important to be sure we’re making the right changes. We should approach evolving our social media with the same data-driven, strategic rigor that applies to everything else we do. The good folks at Rival IQ recently published their 2018 Social Media Benchmarking Report. The data points to some clear directions for the next evolution of social media marketing. Here are some of the key data points – and, more importantly, what you should do about them.

#1 - Influencers Have the Highest Engagement Rate on Facebook

Facebook Engagement Benchmark 2018 The report breaks down engagement by platform and by vertical, which invites some intriguing comparisons. If you’re in the food & beverage industry, congratulations! You’re likely seeing some of the highest engagement. If you’re not, however, there’s no need to roll out a new Cloud-Based SaaS brand of soft drink. Influencers are also hitting the top engagement rate (a whopping .24%, but more on that later).

What to Do:

TopRank Marketing has been talking about influencer marketing since before it was cool. These stats underline the importance of co-creating content with influencers who are relevant to your audience. It’s incredibly tough for brands to make a connection with organic social. Influencers can provide the person-to-person relationship that most people want out of social media interaction. Read: Death of Facebook Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

#2 - More Posting Doesn’t Equal More Engagement

The highest post frequency on Facebook is in the Media vertical, with an average of over 10 posts per day. That’s an artifact of an old way of thinking about social media: Flood your page with posts and hope one or two stick. That strategy doesn’t seem to work anymore. Media has the lowest engagement rate, at .08%. Especially with Facebook, upping your posting frequency is counterproductive. The algorithm will show your posts in fewer feeds, fewer people will interact with them as a result, and you start a vicious cycle that ends up slashing your organic reach.

What to Do:

Stick to one or two posts per day, and really make them count. That’s right at the industry average, and seems to be the threshold on most platforms for how much an audience wants to see branded content. If you have ten potential posts, get ruthless: Pick the two that are most interesting, most relevant, most valuable to your audience. Then save the rest for a roundup blog post at the end of the week.

#3 - Engagement Rates Vary Widely by Platform

We tend to talk about social media as though it were a single monolithic platform. Of course we know there are differences between channels, but the report underscores just how much they can vary. The engagement rates for Instagram are above the 1% mark, with some verticals seeing over 3%: 2018 Instagram Engagement Benchmarks 2018 Twitter Benchmarks While Twitter has an average engagement of .046%. That’s 4 hundredths of a percent, or engagement on one out of every 4,000 posts.

What to Do:

If Instagram fits your brand, and your audience is there, these stats are definitely an endorsement for hopping on the 'gramwagon. But don’t count Twitter out completely. There is a great deal more content posted on Twitter than Instagram, and Twitter moves a lot faster. So that low engagement rate shouldn’t scare you off completely. Instead, use Twitter to boost your brand awareness, provide customer service via social media monitoring, and to engage with potential influencers. Paid posts on Twitter can also have a powerful impact. One of our technology clients initially ruled out Twitter completely. We were able to prove they had a potential audience on Twitter and helped them run a paid program. In the end, their Twitter engagement was far higher than engagement on any other platform.

#4 - Engagement Is Low on Every Platform

More than anything, the report shows just how low the benchmarks are across the social media spectrum. If an email marketing campaign had a .046% average open rate, we would be throwing in the towel writing our resignations at the same time. The drop in engagement makes sense, though, with how social media platforms have evolved. They used to be based on delivering all the posts the user opted into seeing. Whatever accounts the person chose to follow, that was what filled their feed. Now every major social site is curated by algorithm. The user doesn’t control what they see, and neither do brands.

What to Do:

There are two key ways to thrive in the Age of the Algorithm. We’ve already covered the first: Start thinking of most of these channels as pay-to-play. Take your most compelling content and throw some paid promotion behind it on your highest-performing platform. Then A/B test your audience targeting until you find the sweet spot. The second is to produce the type of content that the algorithm will promote. For Facebook and Twitter, that increasingly means native video. Facebook in particular has been explicit about their favoritism for video. Posts that match what the platform wants to promote will get a bigger initial push, which can help you get engagement, which will signal the algorithm to promote it more. It’s also a good idea to explore the major platform that’s missing from Rival IQ’s report: LinkedIn*. The reported engagement rate on LinkedIn is .054%, lower than Facebook but higher than Twitter. However, it’s easy to more than double that benchmark with a little optimization, as this infographic from LinkedIn shows. You can also branch out on LinkedIn by having your C-suite post their own thought leadership content on their own accounts. Personal posts are likely to get more engagement and more shares.

Stay on Your Mark and Don’t Get Benched

Social media marketing is still one of the newest marketing disciplines there is. We’re still developing best practices as the platforms continue to evolve. It’s a little like trying to build a train while you’re going 60 miles per hour down a track built on top of a pool of lime Jell-O. These benchmarks can provide a starting point for the next iteration of your strategy. They might not speak to your specific vertical or audience, but they do highlight the broad changes taking place across social media. To make sure your train keeps rolling, focus on just a few high-quality posts per day, boosted with paid ads on your most valuable channels. Need help mastering social media marketing? Here’s how we helped one company expand their reach. *LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing Client.

The post Social Media Marketing Benchmarks: What Works & Where to Focus appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
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How to Survive the Social Media Midlife Crisis http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/03/social-media-marketing-mid-life-crisis/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2018/03/social-media-marketing-mid-life-crisis/#respond Wed, 28 Mar 2018 10:30:34 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=24035

Time moves faster on the internet. Last month’s memes are about as relevant as a 1920s vaudeville show. Even a bona fide viral phenomenon from just a few years ago seems quaint and dated.

Twitter and Facebook are only 12 and 14 years old, respectively. But they’re aging at internet speed. And right now they’re having a midlife crisis. Instead of buying a sports car and taking up craft brewing, though, that crisis is manifesting as existential dread and intense soul-searching.

The people who run the platforms are publicly examining their purpose and societal impact. More importantly, the people who use the platforms are asking tough questions:

What am I getting out of my time spent here?

Who is this platform structured to benefit?

Should I be trusting my data with this platform?

Is this a positive or negative thing I have let into my life?

As marketers, we have to ask ourselves the same questions. And we should add one more: Is our social media marketing valuable to our audience?

If we’re not adding value, we’re adding to the problem.

Social media is in crisis right now. But that doesn’t mean marketers should abandon ship. It means we have to do our own soul-searching. We need to take our social media accounts off of autopilot and approach them mindfully. Here’s what marketers should consider as we weather the social media midlife crisis.

How Does Your Social Media Marketing Make People Feel?

A recent Hill Holliday report found that a majority of 18-24 year olds were at least considering abandoning social media. Over a quarter said that social media hurts their self-esteem or makes them feel insecure. Thirty-five percent said there was too much negativity, and 17% said they were considering quitting because social media makes them feel bad about themselves.

Connecting with your brand on social media should make a person feel better. They should feel that your brand shares values with them, is paying attention to them, can help meet needs and solve problems.

It’s worth evaluating what your brand is posting on social to make sure it’s helping spread positivity. The old days of scaring or shaming people into buying a product are more than over. The overarching message of any brand on social media should be some variant of: “This is what we’re like. If you’re like that too, you’re awesome. Here’s some help you didn’t even know you needed. Here’s something to make your day a little brighter.”

[bctt tweet="Connecting with your brand on #socialmedia should make a person feel better. They should feel that your brand shares values with them, is paying attention to them, can help meet needs & solve problems. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

Is Your Brand Using Social Media to Be…Well…Social?

Let’s be honest with ourselves, shall we? No one opens their Facebook app saying: “Gosh, I hope I have some satisfactory brand interactions today.” People use social media to connect with other people — you want to see if your high school best friend had her baby, check out your uncle’s kitchen remodel, or see pictures of your parents’ second honeymoon.

Most brands on social media have been pretty lousy at giving people that type of person-to-person interaction. Which explains why people are moving their conversations out of the public eye, into private groups in apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

How can brands be more social on social media? It starts with transparency and honesty. I love Wendy’s’ sassy Twitter account as much as the next jaded Gen X’er, but snark only takes you so far. Use your social media posts to introduce the people behind your brand and the values they stand for. Then aim for meaningful interaction: When someone reaches out to the brand, make sure the reply is prompt, personal, and useful.

[bctt tweet="How can brands be more social on #socialmedia? It starts with transparency & honesty. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

Is Your Brand Connecting with People Your Audience Trusts?

At the heart of it, there’s a limit to how well your brand can connect with individual people. Even when you’re honest, transparent, and engaging, a brand is still not a human being. The relationship dynamic will always be a little strained.

That’s one of the many reasons why influencer marketing works so well. Influencers can co-create content with you and amplify it to their audience on a much more personal basis than your brand could manage on its own. Find the people your audience already follows — in other words, the ones they want to interact with. Then work with these influencers to bring their audience great content that only your brand could have helped create.

Working with influencers helps put the personal, social touch back into social media marketing. It puts the emphasis of your brand interaction where it belongs: person to person.

[bctt tweet="Working with influencers helps put the personal, social touch back into #SocialMediaMarketing. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

Read: Death of Facebook Organic Reach = Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

Getting Beyond the Crisis

When social media platforms first launched, most of us jumped right in. We found our high school classmates. We connected with friends from college. We added co-workers and family members and friends of friends, and we shared everything. Over time, we developed routines. Now, people are finally starting to analyze just what social media means to them. Most will keep their accounts open — but the majority will change the way they interact with the platforms.

Sound familiar? Most brands jumped headfirst into social media, developed routines, and then many of us went on autopilot. Now it’s time to question what we hope to get out of social media, and whether our tactics are getting us closer to those goals. And most importantly, making sure our goals match what our audience wants from us.

Need help with social media marketing? We have you covered.

The post How to Survive the Social Media Midlife Crisis appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>

Time moves faster on the internet. Last month’s memes are about as relevant as a 1920s vaudeville show. Even a bona fide viral phenomenon from just a few years ago seems quaint and dated. Twitter and Facebook are only 12 and 14 years old, respectively. But they’re aging at internet speed. And right now they’re having a midlife crisis. Instead of buying a sports car and taking up craft brewing, though, that crisis is manifesting as existential dread and intense soul-searching. The people who run the platforms are publicly examining their purpose and societal impact. More importantly, the people who use the platforms are asking tough questions:
What am I getting out of my time spent here? Who is this platform structured to benefit? Should I be trusting my data with this platform? Is this a positive or negative thing I have let into my life?
As marketers, we have to ask ourselves the same questions. And we should add one more: Is our social media marketing valuable to our audience? If we’re not adding value, we’re adding to the problem. Social media is in crisis right now. But that doesn’t mean marketers should abandon ship. It means we have to do our own soul-searching. We need to take our social media accounts off of autopilot and approach them mindfully. Here’s what marketers should consider as we weather the social media midlife crisis.

How Does Your Social Media Marketing Make People Feel?

A recent Hill Holliday report found that a majority of 18-24 year olds were at least considering abandoning social media. Over a quarter said that social media hurts their self-esteem or makes them feel insecure. Thirty-five percent said there was too much negativity, and 17% said they were considering quitting because social media makes them feel bad about themselves. Connecting with your brand on social media should make a person feel better. They should feel that your brand shares values with them, is paying attention to them, can help meet needs and solve problems. It’s worth evaluating what your brand is posting on social to make sure it’s helping spread positivity. The old days of scaring or shaming people into buying a product are more than over. The overarching message of any brand on social media should be some variant of: “This is what we’re like. If you’re like that too, you’re awesome. Here’s some help you didn’t even know you needed. Here’s something to make your day a little brighter.” [bctt tweet="Connecting with your brand on #socialmedia should make a person feel better. They should feel that your brand shares values with them, is paying attention to them, can help meet needs & solve problems. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

Is Your Brand Using Social Media to Be…Well…Social?

Let’s be honest with ourselves, shall we? No one opens their Facebook app saying: “Gosh, I hope I have some satisfactory brand interactions today.” People use social media to connect with other people — you want to see if your high school best friend had her baby, check out your uncle’s kitchen remodel, or see pictures of your parents’ second honeymoon. Most brands on social media have been pretty lousy at giving people that type of person-to-person interaction. Which explains why people are moving their conversations out of the public eye, into private groups in apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. How can brands be more social on social media? It starts with transparency and honesty. I love Wendy’s’ sassy Twitter account as much as the next jaded Gen X’er, but snark only takes you so far. Use your social media posts to introduce the people behind your brand and the values they stand for. Then aim for meaningful interaction: When someone reaches out to the brand, make sure the reply is prompt, personal, and useful. [bctt tweet="How can brands be more social on #socialmedia? It starts with transparency & honesty. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"]

Is Your Brand Connecting with People Your Audience Trusts?

At the heart of it, there’s a limit to how well your brand can connect with individual people. Even when you’re honest, transparent, and engaging, a brand is still not a human being. The relationship dynamic will always be a little strained. That’s one of the many reasons why influencer marketing works so well. Influencers can co-create content with you and amplify it to their audience on a much more personal basis than your brand could manage on its own. Find the people your audience already follows — in other words, the ones they want to interact with. Then work with these influencers to bring their audience great content that only your brand could have helped create. Working with influencers helps put the personal, social touch back into social media marketing. It puts the emphasis of your brand interaction where it belongs: person to person. [bctt tweet="Working with influencers helps put the personal, social touch back into #SocialMediaMarketing. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"] Read: Death of Facebook Organic Reach = Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

Getting Beyond the Crisis

When social media platforms first launched, most of us jumped right in. We found our high school classmates. We connected with friends from college. We added co-workers and family members and friends of friends, and we shared everything. Over time, we developed routines. Now, people are finally starting to analyze just what social media means to them. Most will keep their accounts open — but the majority will change the way they interact with the platforms. Sound familiar? Most brands jumped headfirst into social media, developed routines, and then many of us went on autopilot. Now it’s time to question what we hope to get out of social media, and whether our tactics are getting us closer to those goals. And most importantly, making sure our goals match what our audience wants from us. Need help with social media marketing? We have you covered.

The post How to Survive the Social Media Midlife Crisis appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

]]>
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Digital Marketing News: Top Ads 2017, Marketing Jobs 2018, Google Mobile First http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/12/digital-marketing-news-122217/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/12/digital-marketing-news-122217/#respond Fri, 22 Dec 2017 11:00:36 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23473 The 10 Most Watched Ads on YouTube in 2017 – This impressive collection of work includes two video ads that exceeded 100 million views. Which was your favorite? Natalie Portman for Miss Dior or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson” for Apple?  AdWeek B2B Tech Buyers More Motivated by Reliability & Ease of Use Claims Than Price. [...]

The post Digital Marketing News: Top Ads 2017, Marketing Jobs 2018, Google Mobile First appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Top 10 Most Watched Videos of 2017

The 10 Most Watched Ads on YouTube in 2017 – This impressive collection of work includes two video ads that exceeded 100 million views. Which was your favorite? Natalie Portman for Miss Dior or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson” for Apple?  AdWeek

B2B Tech Buyers More Motivated by Reliability & Ease of Use Claims Than Price. A study by Lavidge of 400 B2B decision makers in the US reports that technology buyers prefer reliability (64) over low cost (49%) when justifying purchasing decisions. MarketingCharts

The 2018 Hiring Outlook for Marketing and Advertising Jobs. 46% of marketing and advertising executives say it is somewhat challenging to find skilled workers today; 7% say it is very challenging – MarketingProfs

New IRI Report Details Value of Contextually Relevant Advertising. Marketers who instead mix in relevant context strategies can bolster sales lift and further increase return on investment (ROI) by up to 30%. Morningstar

The Advertising Media That Consumers Trust Most. Research from Clutch reports 61% of respondents trust TV/broadcast video; 58% trust print; 45%, radio/podcast; 42%, out-of-home/billboards; 41%, online; and 38%, social media. MarketingProfs

How Twitter Celebrated The Last Jedi in Style With Real-Time Billboards. Disney teamed up with Twitter to plaster fan tweets across giant billboards in real time. AdWeek

Google Mobile-First Index Rolls Out For ‘Handful Of Sites’. Webmasters will see significantly increased crawling by Smartphone Googlebot, and the snippets in the results, as well as the content on the Google cache pages, will be from the mobile version of the pages. SearchMarketing Daily

Google faces fresh EU showdown as rivals attack search giant’s response to record fine. “(Google) continues to place its shopping service at an advantage in search results.” Telegraph

B2B Mobile Ad Spend 2017

Instagram ad revenue to double to $10.87bn by 2019. eMarketer predicts a thirds of social media users will use Instagram by 2021 – The Drum

How Instagram’s new features will impact organic reach. The addition of follow hashtags and a Recommended for you section have favorable and unfortunate implications for brands, publishers and influencers. Here’s a rundown – DigiDay

Facebook adds Snooze button to mute annoying friends and Pages. For when you don’t want to unfriend or unfollow and just need a break. The Next Web

Facebook Will Now Punish Posts That Beg for Likes and Comments. Facebook said in a statement on Monday that it will begin clamping down on “engagement bait” across its social network starting this week. Fortune

Facebook’s Plan To Take On TV. That’s right. And for starters, in January Facebook Watch will host a live show, “Mixed Match Challenge,” produced by the WWE. MediaPost

On the Lighter Side:

Giphy’s List of the Most Popular GIFs in 2017 Is a Gift to Behold. From NFL celebrations to dancing Wonder Woman. AdWeek

Awww. Samsung and Casey Neistat Turned an Abandoned Shopping Mall Into a Winter Wonderland for Kids. Happy holidays to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee! AdWeek

TopRank Marketing in the News:

What was the top digital marketing news story for you this week?

Be sure to stay tuned until next week when we’ll be sharing all new marketing news stories. Also check out the full video summary with Tiffani and Josh on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | Digital Marketing News: Top Ads 2017, Marketing Jobs 2018, Google Mobile First | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Content Conversations: Content Marketing Predictions for 2018 http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/12/content-conversations-content-predictions-2018/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/12/content-conversations-content-predictions-2018/#respond Thu, 14 Dec 2017 11:30:18 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23426 Last year around this time, we reached out to a series of content experts (many of which are included in this post), to ask them for their top content prediction for 2017. By and large, the explosion of video content was a top prediction and rang true this year. We also received predictions related to [...]

The post Content Conversations: Content Marketing Predictions for 2018 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Last year around this time, we reached out to a series of content experts (many of which are included in this post), to ask them for their top content prediction for 2017. By and large, the explosion of video content was a top prediction and rang true this year.

We also received predictions related to the mistrust of news sources (#FakeNews anyone?), the need for restructure within marketing departments as content marketing roles become more defined and the necessity for a defined content marketing strategy.

And while each of these predictions were spot on (or very close to what we’ve experienced this year), some of them were very aspirational. This year, content marketers have been through alot. They’ve had to do even more with less, focus even more on marketing performance and try to navigate a very saturated marketplace.

In the past few weeks we’ve discussed the biggest content lessons in 2017 and how to hit the ground running with content in 2018. This week we get a glimpse at some raw, grounded and actionable content marketing predictions for 2018.

Digital Platforms Will Evolve

The platforms and tools that we use on a daily basis are in the midst of a revolution. Advancements in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are having a significant impact on the industry, one that we can’t ignore.

As content marketers begin to rely more heavily on this technology, they’ll find that they will have even more insights and data which should make for better, more impactful content.

Ann Handley

Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

“We’re going to see new art forms emerge for content in 2018.” @annhandley tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • What additional data do we need to create more impactful content?
  • What tools and plugins already exist that can help to better inform the content we create?
  • How will technologies like AI and Machine Learning shape our approach in 2018 and beyond?

Marketing Will Become a Profit Center

Traditionally, marketing has been viewed as a cost center within organizations large and small. Marketing is the thing that costs money, that doesn’t create new business and is often the first department to experience budget or resource cuts.

Jump to 2018, and it’s time to change that narrative. Good marketers have been lead and revenue obsessed for years, and use data to show their worth. Now it’s time for everyone else to catch up.

If content marketers can narrow their focus and spend time nurturing their audience and developing marketing strategies that move them through the purchasing funnel, they’ll begin to see the direct correlation between marketing and sales made.

Joe Pulizzi

Author & Keynote Speaker

“What if we can build a loyal audience, and generate direct revenue from that audience and have marketing be self-sustaining.” @joepulizzi tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • How does my company value our marketing department?
  • Are we a cost or profit center?
  • What steps can we take immediately to gather, analyze and act on data to become more efficient?

2018 Will Leave a Content Crater

Everyone and their dog (literally), consider themselves to be content marketers. The landscape is saturated with crappy content that is leaving many audiences unsatisfied and turned off, even when it comes to the good stuff.

We are in an era where people know that they need to be creating content, but they aren’t always equipped to create the right content. In the coming year, we’ll see even more people creating even more content without purpose.

Chris Brogan

CEO, Owner Media Group

“We’re on the tail-end of people knowing they need to create content. Content 2018 is Applebee’s announcing $1 margaritas every day of the week.” @chrisbrogan tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • Does the content that we create have purpose?
  • What can we do to ensure we’re creating the right content for the right audience(s)?

Marketers Will Focus More on A/B Testing

Creating and promoting content a certain way because it’s “the way you’ve always done it”, won’t help you become a better or more successful marketer.

The best marketers, take the time to test different variations, analyze the data and optimize based on the results. When you do start an A/B testing initiative it’s essential that you keep the variables to a minimum. That way you can determine which variable had the impact and optimize your approach moving forward.

Alexandra Rynne

Content Marketing Manager – Marketing Solutions, LinkedIn

“In 2018, we’ll see a lot more companies A/B testing.” @amrynnie tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • What content or content promotion assets can we begin A/B testing immediately?
  • What types of content do we want to A/B test moving forward?
  • What tools do we have in place or need in order to effectively A/B test?

B2B Brands Will Inject Humor into Marketing

Most B2B marketers think that content is serious business. However, that notion runs counter to the buzzwords we’ve been throwing around for years about humanizing brands, showcasing authenticity and ultimately creating content for people.

Smart B2B brands will take the time in 2018 to begin testing adding humor into their marketing in a way that creates a more meaningful connection with their audience.

Tim Washer

Writer & Producer, Cisco

“2018 will be the year that we’ll see more B2B brands using humor in their content. Using humor is a wonderful way to share our flaws as people.” @timwasher tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • Would my audience be open to consuming content from our brand that is more humorous?
  • How can we add humor to our content in a way that makes sense?

Content Measurement Will Reign Supreme

In 2018 marketers will need to be even more data driven than ever before. Reporting on KPIs will no longer be accepted as marketers have access to information that can help them measure true content impact and performance against business objectives.

Additionally, marketers will need to use this data to map the full buyer journey to determine the correct place for each piece of content.

Dayna Rothman

VP of Marketing & Sales Development, BrightFunnel

“Marketers will need to go above and beyond KPIs and determine what content is moving the needle for pipeline and revenue.” @dayroth tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • Do I have access to the data I need?
  • What impact is my content having currently?
  • How can we create more impactful content that maps to business objectives?

Marketers Still Won’t Have a Documented Strategy

Documenting a formal content strategy still seems to be a struggle for many marketers. And while there is a slight increase each year in the number of marketers who do have a content strategy, it’s not enough.

Without a plan, it’s impossible to meet or exceed expectations. Simply formalizing your plan can provide a framework for how you’ll approach content, what your goals are and how you can make decisions based on the data you collect.

Chris Moody

Content Marketing Leader, GE Digital

“We have to get to a point where every marketer is data driven and showing ROI.” @cnmoody tweet this

Ask Yourself:

  • If you don’t have a plan, what is hindering you from creating one?
  • What are your biggest content marketing goals for 2018?
  • How can you work backwards to determine how you will reach them?

BONUS: In 20 Years, Content Marketing Will Be ______

As an added bonus, we asked our experts to predict beyond the coming year and share their vision for content marketing in 20 years. Here were their responses:

What is Your Content Marketing Prediction for 2018?

Content marketing changes so quickly that these predictions can’t possibly cover all of the changes that we will experience in the coming year. So that begs the question: what is your top content marketing prediction for 2018?

Disclosure: BrightFunnel & LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.


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How 5 B2B Brands Are Using Snapchat and Instagram Stories http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/12/b2b-snapchat-instagram-stories/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/12/b2b-snapchat-instagram-stories/#comments Mon, 04 Dec 2017 11:30:16 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23340 B2B brands are usually slow to jump on the latest social media craze train, and with good reason. Their audience might not even be on those social media networks. For example, Snapchat was originally full of teenagers and controversy — not a great place to grow brand awareness or share thought leadership. But my, oh [...]

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B2B brands are usually slow to jump on the latest social media craze train, and with good reason. Their audience might not even be on those social media networks. For example, Snapchat was originally full of teenagers and controversy — not a great place to grow brand awareness or share thought leadership. But my, oh my, how far we’ve come.

Today, networks like Snapchat, Instagram, Messenger, and other marketing channels are becoming new breeding grounds for B2B brands. But with frequent product updates introducing new features and advertising tools, brands are often left wondering what the best approach is.

One such feature is Stories: timed pictures or video clips that users can deck-out with text, filters, or stickers to spice-up their content. And it seems like every major app is jumping on this trend with Messenger, Facebook, and most recently YouTube creating their own version of a Stories feature. However, the jury is still out on the best ways to use them.

Well, we’re here to help you figure that out. Here are five B2B brands using Snapchat and Instagram Stories and how they’re using them to their advantage.

1. Cisco

One of the best ways to connect with an audience is through shared values. Cisco is well aware of this and utilizes their Snapchat Stories to share how their company and employees are making the world a better place. And because authentic content is seen as more genuine, Cisco actually allows their employees to run the account themselves. This way, their audience can see a true glimpse into the lives of Cisco employees and how they help others.


Image credit: Cisco

2. IBM

One of the key benefits of promoted Instagram or Snapchat Stories is that they allow you to geotarget your audience and create unique geofilters. With these features, brands can serve targeted Stories and custom filters to their audience based on their location. IBM has used this to their advantage in the past by creating special filters for their industry events. IBM can then promote the filters to event attendees and followers can see updates live from the event floor — creating an easy way for IBM to send relevant content to the right audience.


Image credit: IBM

3. Google

Brand storytelling at its finest. That’s how I would describe Google’s use of Instagram Stories. With Stories, Google shares brief vignettes with narrative captions to share inspiring stories of people using their products. Watch just a few and you’ll see how they sink their teeth into you and build up anticipation, encouraging you to complete their call to action and watch the full video. It’s a really effective and meaningful way for Google to share exactly how their solutions help solve both individual and global problems.


Image credit: Google

4. GE

GE is known for being an innovative company. But can you name exactly what they do? You might be able to name a few things, but the reality is that GE does too many things to name. Because of this, GE has been using Instagram Stories to share the unique things they do all over the world. Most notably, they took us deep into a volcano to sample active lava. Each story helps paint a picture for their audience, changing their public perception from an industrial giant to a creative innovator.


Image credit: Adweek

5. Mailchimp

Mailchimp, everyone’s go-to email service provider, uses Snapchat Stories to share scenes from fun events, creative images, and funny videos. With smart brand apparel, a hip monkey named Freddie, and really cool artwork, Mailchimp has an endless supply of creative and eye-catching content to share. And while it may seem like there’s not a unifying theme behind their Stories, it actually does a great job of showing off their brand’s eclectic personality. Through witty commentary and funky images, Mailchimp has personified their brand, building strong relationships with their followers.

 


Image credit: Recruiting Social

Up Your B2B Social Game

Don’t be hesitant to take the next step for your brand’s social media marketing. For more ideas on how your B2B brand can up your social media game, check out these social media tips and examples or our guide on Snapchat for B2B brands.

Not ready to expand your social media marketing on your own? Find out how we can help by taking a look at our social media marketing services.


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4 Significant Marketing Channels You Should Adopt in 2018 http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/emerging-marketing-channels/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/emerging-marketing-channels/#comments Mon, 27 Nov 2017 11:30:00 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23269 Regardless of whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, your audience is always on the move. With changing devices, interests, and behaviors it’s increasingly difficult to stay in front of your target audience. As the saying goes, ‘a moving target is harder to hit.’ To increase our chances of hitting our targets, we often weave [...]

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Regardless of whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, your audience is always on the move. With changing devices, interests, and behaviors it’s increasingly difficult to stay in front of your target audience. As the saying goes, ‘a moving target is harder to hit.’

To increase our chances of hitting our targets, we often weave several channels into our marketing strategy, putting our brand in front of more potential leads. However, in today’s digital landscape, it can feel like new platforms and social networks pop up daily leaving you to wonder if you need to change up your strategy.

Below, we gathered our top four emerging digital marketing channels to help you decide which channels are worth focusing on and stay top of mind with your target audience. Read on to learn how you can adopt them into your 2018 marketing plan.

1. Messaging Apps

Messaging apps are now 20% bigger than social networks, creating new pathways where you can target your audience. This includes messaging apps like WhatsApp, Slack, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger. Facebook Messenger alone is on the phones of over 1.2 billion people and with mobile now accounting for 57% of internet traffic, it’s important for your brand to be visible on the mobile apps your audience uses.

Through strategic advertising and integrated chatbots, your brand can attract and support more customers through messaging apps. For example, you can send sponsored, personalized messages to people who have messaged your brand in the past to start a dialogue. Then, with well-designed and thoughtful bot, you can automate the conversations and interactions your brand has with your audience to draw them closer to converting.

2. Medium

With 91% of B2B marketers stating that they use content marketing, odds are you already create noteworthy content for your brand. Medium, a publishing platform where people “read and write things that matter,” allows you to distribute that content with an engaged and thoughtful audience. And through Medium’s priority on quality content, the size of your audience doesn’t affect the virality of what you have to say, which differs from how other publishing sites and networks work.

As a platform for individuals and their opinions, Medium is a place for your brand’s thought leaders to share their progressive ideas. Instead of publishing content as a business, ask your brand’s top minds to post content that is thought provoking, yet relevant to your industry or business. With over 126 million website visits to date and growing, Medium’s active users will highlight and interact with your content, increasing the visibility of your content on the platform.

3. Reddit

Boasted as “The Front Page of the Internet”, Reddit provides another unique opportunity for brands to engage new, active audiences. With over 250 million users to date, Reddit allows users to create, share, and discuss online content and vote on their submissions. This has resulted in an active, loyal, and engaged community full of user-generated content. In fact, after 1.69 billion website visitors to date, Reddit has an average site visit duration of over 10 minutes.

Get started with Reddit by selecting a few subreddits (i.e. threads dedicated to specific topics) that are appropriate for you to share your content in. You can also try out Reddit’s advertising features which allow you to sponsor a post to the front page of a subreddit. And if you’re feeling extra brave, you can host an AMA (Ask Me Anything) on Reddit, which allows you to have a Q&A session with Reddit’s community. Be warned, however: posting on Reddit can be a bit like walking through a minefield—you never know what you’re going to get.

4. YouTube

Video accounts for 74% of all internet traffic, meaning your audience spends a majority of their time online watching a video. While YouTube has been around for over a decade, it still hasn’t made it into many marketing strategies with only 30% of B2B marketers believing video will be critical to their content marketing. Today, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and second most visited site, making it a prime place to distribute video content and engage audiences.

While producing your own video may seem daunting, video creation has never been more accessible through new SaaS offerings and sophisticated phone cameras. Plus, your videos don’t need to be overly complicated. Showcase your company’s thought leaders through one on one interviews, live streamed Q&A’s, or webinars. In addition, you can create in-depth tutorials that walk your audience through difficult problems, highlighting your expertise and educating your audience. For more ideas on the types of videos you can create, see how seven brands are using long-form video content to connect with audiences.

Mix Up Your Content Marketing Game

Finding the right content marketing mix that successfully engages the right people isn’t an exact science. For more tips and ideas on how to find that perfect balance, check out these content marketing mix tips.


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Digital Marketing News: Tech & ABM, Top Search Ranking Factors and 2017 Consumer Trends http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/digital-marketing-news-112417/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/digital-marketing-news-112417/#comments Fri, 24 Nov 2017 11:30:14 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23298

How New Tech Trends Can Amplify Your Marketing Strategy [Animated Infographic]
How can technology help your account based marketing be more efficient and more personal? This infographic answers that question and more about marketing technology trends, AI and machine learning. MarketingProfs

Top 17 Organic Search Ranking Factors [STUDY]
A new study from SEMRush shows the top search ranking factors for 2017. These factors heavily favor engagement and quality of content - with factors like bounce rate, time on page and direct visits dominating the top of the list. Having the appropriate keywords in the title, meta description and page content were near the bottom. Search Engine Journal

No One Trusts Social Media, but They'll Keep Using It Anyway [New Data]
Distrust for social media is on the rise, with close to half of survey respondents saying that Google, Facebook and Twitter are 'untrustworthy.' However, despite the distrust, few plan to stop using social networks and Google. HubSpot

Study Finds Sharp Drop in Time Spent on Facebook
eMarketer reports: "Facebook users in the US spent more time with the platform than users of any other social network, 18 hours, 24 minutes. But that was a significant drop from the 32 hours, 43 minutes recorded by Verto Analytics a year ago." eMarketer

2017 Consumer Trends Report
What do US consumers care about in 2017? In this new study, social media data shines some light onto what topics of conversation are most prevalent and what conversations are emerging. Crimson Hexagon

The State of E-Commerce in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods [Infographic]
According to MarketingProfs, this infographic "offers insights into the current state of e-commerce in FMCG, also known as CPG (consumer packaged goods), as well as why e-commerce is no longer just an option for FMCG (it's a must-have) and which verticals have seen the most growth."  MarketingProfs

Facebook debuts web-based VR experiences within standard News Feed
Facebook has recently released examples of brands who have developed VR apps with which users can interact in the Facebook News Feed and mobile app. Facebook is calling them "360 experiences". MarketingLand

Google AdWords Editor updates to support budget type option for video ads & more
Google has announced even more updates to their AdWords Editor program. These updates will support new features like Gmail asset-based ads, video extensions and a new budget type option for video ads. Search Engine Land

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet to @toprank!

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How New Tech Trends Can Amplify Your Marketing Strategy [Animated Infographic] How can technology help your account based marketing be more efficient and more personal? This infographic answers that question and more about marketing technology trends, AI and machine learning. MarketingProfs Top 17 Organic Search Ranking Factors [STUDY] A new study from SEMRush shows the top search ranking factors for 2017. These factors heavily favor engagement and quality of content - with factors like bounce rate, time on page and direct visits dominating the top of the list. Having the appropriate keywords in the title, meta description and page content were near the bottom. Search Engine Journal No One Trusts Social Media, but They'll Keep Using It Anyway [New Data] Distrust for social media is on the rise, with close to half of survey respondents saying that Google, Facebook and Twitter are 'untrustworthy.' However, despite the distrust, few plan to stop using social networks and Google. HubSpot Study Finds Sharp Drop in Time Spent on Facebook eMarketer reports: "Facebook users in the US spent more time with the platform than users of any other social network, 18 hours, 24 minutes. But that was a significant drop from the 32 hours, 43 minutes recorded by Verto Analytics a year ago." eMarketer 2017 Consumer Trends Report What do US consumers care about in 2017? In this new study, social media data shines some light onto what topics of conversation are most prevalent and what conversations are emerging. Crimson Hexagon The State of E-Commerce in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods [Infographic] According to MarketingProfs, this infographic "offers insights into the current state of e-commerce in FMCG, also known as CPG (consumer packaged goods), as well as why e-commerce is no longer just an option for FMCG (it's a must-have) and which verticals have seen the most growth."  MarketingProfs Facebook debuts web-based VR experiences within standard News Feed Facebook has recently released examples of brands who have developed VR apps with which users can interact in the Facebook News Feed and mobile app. Facebook is calling them "360 experiences". MarketingLand Google AdWords Editor updates to support budget type option for video ads & more Google has announced even more updates to their AdWords Editor program. These updates will support new features like Gmail asset-based ads, video extensions and a new budget type option for video ads. Search Engine Land What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news. Have something to share? Tweet to @toprank!

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Values in Marketing: How Taking a Stand Boosts Your Business http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/marketing-stand-boosts-business/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/marketing-stand-boosts-business/#comments Wed, 22 Nov 2017 11:30:29 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23264 What do Home Depot, Ikea, Dillard’s and REI have in common? They all will be closed for Thanksgiving this year, joined by dozens more major retailers. REI in particular will remain closed through Black Friday as well. On some of the biggest shopping days in the U.S., these retail giants are encouraging potential customers to [...]

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What do Home Depot, Ikea, Dillard’s and REI have in common?

They all will be closed for Thanksgiving this year, joined by dozens more major retailers. REI in particular will remain closed through Black Friday as well. On some of the biggest shopping days in the U.S., these retail giants are encouraging potential customers to stay home.

On the surface, it seems like a risky move. At worst, these brands risk losing customers to competitors, and at best they’re out a substantial chunk of sales revenue.

But major players in the industry don’t get that way by giving away money. They know that leading with their values is good for business. They saw Black Friday slowly encroach into Thanksgiving, and chose to support the idea that the holiday should be a day of rest, not a marathon of bargain-hunting.

As an early adopter, REI serves as a case study to the business power of leading with your values. The sporting goods retailer stayed closed on Thanksgiving and Black Friday in 2015, branding the initiative the Opt Outside campaign. The message was simple: Instead of shopping, go out and get in touch with nature. It was a potent idea, perfectly consistent with the brand’s core values. And the gamble paid off: REI saw a 9.3% increase in revenue, a 7% increase in store sales, and a 23% increase in digital sales for 2015.

It’s not just about choosing to close your business on a particular day, of course. It’s about broadcasting your brand’s values, and showing the courage of your convictions by following through on them. Consumers tend to favor that kind of boldness.

Here’s why leading with your brand’s values can be a boost to your marketing.

Differentiate Your Business

In the always-on digital world, a lot of the key differentiators brands used to rely on cease to matter. The hardware store downtown is open an hour later, so you shop there. The bank down the street always has extra tellers and shorter lines, so you choose to bank there. The local supermarket has the best deals on produce, so get your apples and bananas there.

Price and convenience are getting harder to compete on. One of the few remaining differentiators is what a brand stands for. TOMS shoes, Dove, Always and adidas are just a few brands using culture as a content marketing strategy. And the strategy is paying off – a recent study from Cone Communications found that 87% of consumers use values as a guide for making purchase decisions.

Define Your Audience

Some brands focus on pulling in the largest audience possible. To avoid turning off any potential customers, they avoid making controversial statements – and eventually statements of any kind. The problem is, “inoffensive” can quickly turn into “bland.” Sure, no one hates a bland brand. But no one loves them, either. And the worst part is, the majority of people that might be turned off by a brand’s values were likely never going to be customers in the first place.

When you lead with your values, you may turn away some people. But the trade-off is energizing the people who share your values, inspiring brand loyalty and ambassadorship. Starbucks is a perfect example of this phenomenon. When they announced they would hire 10,000 refugees, some people boycotted the brand. But a far larger group became more loyal, resulting in a net win for the company.

Inspire Your Employees

The people who work for your organization are the single largest underutilized marketing force you have. On average, employees tend to have ten times the connections on social media than the brand they work for. And people are more likely to trust messaging that comes from other people rather than a brand’s social accounts.

If you can inspire your employees to be brand ambassadors, you can be more credible to your existing audience and reach vast untapped audiences as well. Leading with your values is one way to give employees that inspiration. Communicate your brand values internally to make sure everyone shares the vision, then encourage employees to post on social media when they see those values in action.

Go Against the Flow

When some retailers started opening earlier and earlier on Black Friday – eventually cutting into Thanksgiving itself – most businesses followed suit. But a special few had the courage to lead with their values, buck the trend, and start a counter-movement, and their efforts have paid off. That kind of values-based marketing has proven to be a powerful differentiator, helping businesses find new audiences and inspire their employees to be brand ambassadors.

Whether you spend your weekend shopping or relaxing with family, come back to work Monday ready to put your brand’s values in action. Because values-driven, purpose-led marketing is something we all can be thankful for.

What’s your favorite story of a brand taking a values-driven stand? Let me know in the comments.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | Values in Marketing: How Taking a Stand Boosts Your Business | http://www.toprankblog.com

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Digital Marketing News: Email vs. SMS, Twitter Trolls Itself and Google’s AI Wizard http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/digital-marketing-news-111017/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/digital-marketing-news-111017/#respond Fri, 10 Nov 2017 11:30:22 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23226

Email vs. SMS: Battle of the Heavyweights [Infographic]
In a battle of email vs. SMS, who is the winner? This infographic shows the differences between the two tactics in terms of volume, engagement, preferences and effectiveness by medium. MarketingProfs

Twitter trolls itself on new 280 character limit
As you may have heard via everyone’s favorite venting platform, Twitter has increased their allotted character count to 280. While many are happy with this change, some are disappointed or even concerned that it will ruin the value of the platform. CNN Tech

Google's AI Wizard Unveils A New Twist on Neural Networks
This is a story 40 years in the making. Geoff Hinton (the man behind AI) published two new papers that offers a new twist on neural networks that enable machines to better understand the world via images and video. Wired

Study: Longer Videos Mean Higher Engagement
Even in the age of decreased attention spans, it seems that audiences prefer long-form video over short-form video. In fact, videos over 90 seconds receive 78% more shares and 74% more views. MediaPost

Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status hit 300M users, nearly 2X Snapchat
When it comes to features, it’s hard to tell the difference between Instagram Stories and Snapchat these days. Now that Instagram Stories has a solid user base, it’s time for Facebook to innovate and move away from copycatting Snapchat. TechCrunch

Facebook Registers Soaring Ad Revenues, Mobile Dominates.
Facebook experienced amazing third-quarter results with almost a 50% increase in advertising revenue. Additionally, 88% of that revenue is represented by mobile advertising. MediaPost

New Salesforce And Google Partnership Shakes Up The Cloud Race
The chocolate and peanut butter of marketing and sales analytics are finally coming together, as Google and Salesforce announce a new joint venture. Salesforce is committing to using Google’s G Suite, while Google Analytics will be fully integrated with Salesforce’s core platform. Salesforce has committed to using Google’s cloud storage as well, but will maintain multiple cloud vendors for the time being. Forbes

Older Photos and Videos Can Now Be Added to Instagram Stories
Instagram is now allowing users to add older photos from their camera rolls into their Instagram Stories. According to AdWeek, "Instagram said it will automatically suggest a new sticker to add context on when older photos or videos were taken, and users can choose to rotate, resize or remove the new sticker altogether before sharing their Stories." AdWeek

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news! In the meantime, if you have something to share Tweet us @toprank or @Tiffani_Allen.

The post Digital Marketing News: Email vs. SMS, Twitter Trolls Itself and Google’s AI Wizard appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Email vs. SMS: Battle of the Heavyweights [Infographic] In a battle of email vs. SMS, who is the winner? This infographic shows the differences between the two tactics in terms of volume, engagement, preferences and effectiveness by medium. MarketingProfs Twitter trolls itself on new 280 character limit As you may have heard via everyone’s favorite venting platform, Twitter has increased their allotted character count to 280. While many are happy with this change, some are disappointed or even concerned that it will ruin the value of the platform. CNN Tech Google's AI Wizard Unveils A New Twist on Neural Networks This is a story 40 years in the making. Geoff Hinton (the man behind AI) published two new papers that offers a new twist on neural networks that enable machines to better understand the world via images and video. Wired Study: Longer Videos Mean Higher Engagement Even in the age of decreased attention spans, it seems that audiences prefer long-form video over short-form video. In fact, videos over 90 seconds receive 78% more shares and 74% more views. MediaPost Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status hit 300M users, nearly 2X Snapchat When it comes to features, it’s hard to tell the difference between Instagram Stories and Snapchat these days. Now that Instagram Stories has a solid user base, it’s time for Facebook to innovate and move away from copycatting Snapchat. TechCrunch Facebook Registers Soaring Ad Revenues, Mobile Dominates. Facebook experienced amazing third-quarter results with almost a 50% increase in advertising revenue. Additionally, 88% of that revenue is represented by mobile advertising. MediaPost New Salesforce And Google Partnership Shakes Up The Cloud Race The chocolate and peanut butter of marketing and sales analytics are finally coming together, as Google and Salesforce announce a new joint venture. Salesforce is committing to using Google’s G Suite, while Google Analytics will be fully integrated with Salesforce’s core platform. Salesforce has committed to using Google’s cloud storage as well, but will maintain multiple cloud vendors for the time being. Forbes Older Photos and Videos Can Now Be Added to Instagram Stories Instagram is now allowing users to add older photos from their camera rolls into their Instagram Stories. According to AdWeek, "Instagram said it will automatically suggest a new sticker to add context on when older photos or videos were taken, and users can choose to rotate, resize or remove the new sticker altogether before sharing their Stories." AdWeek What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news! In the meantime, if you have something to share Tweet us @toprank or @Tiffani_Allen.

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Here we Grow Again: Welcome New VP Katie Uphus to TopRank Marketing http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/welcome-katie-uphus-vp/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/welcome-katie-uphus-vp/#respond Wed, 08 Nov 2017 11:05:45 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23217 TopRank Marketing evolved from PR to digital marketing agency in the mid 2000’s, right about the time our new VP of Operations got into agency project management. Twelve years and multiple advancements from a creative agency Director of Production to Senior Director of Operations later, Katie Uphus has now joined the team as Vice President [...]

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Here we grow again TopRank Marketing

TopRank Marketing evolved from PR to digital marketing agency in the mid 2000’s, right about the time our new VP of Operations got into agency project management.

Twelve years and multiple advancements from a creative agency Director of Production to Senior Director of Operations later, Katie Uphus has now joined the team as Vice President at TopRank Marketing.

Katie Uphus Lee Odden

Talent is what makes our agency magical for our B2B clients and we’re excited to bring Katie on board. Her experience developing teams, coordinating workflow and marketing operations will help us establish the framework for an environment where each of our team can become the best they can be in their respective roles.

At the same time, we’re focused on optimizing how our teams work together in order to deliver the best possible solutions for our clients and a satisfying work environment for our professional team of smart, creative and results-focused marketers.

My co-founder Susan Misukanis and I are committed to supporting the team at TopRank Marketing with the best talent we can find. We have 5 new team members joining the agency in November and several more Account Managers, Content Marketers, Social Media Specialists and Influence Marketing Specialists to be added through the rest of Q4 and into the new year. Here is a list of our open positions.

As part of Katie’s introduction to the TopRank Marketing community, I’ve asked her to share a little about herself from background to thoughts on the industry to my favorite social network word association game.

What is your background working in the marketing agency world?

For the past 12 years I’ve been at StoneArch, a Minneapolis health and medical marketing agency, where I served in various management and leadership roles. Prior to that, I spent nearly 10 years at Optum. In the early days, when Optum was an employee assistance program, I was a counselor and management consultant, and eventually moved into marketing and product management.

What do you love most about digital marketing?

I like that brands are being pushed to create better and more meaningful experiences for people–beyond the usual “hard sell,” and actually finding ways to be useful to people.

What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned when it comes to managing marketing teams?

Good collaboration comes when each individual from each discipline understands and appreciates the value of the other’s contribution. With clear guiding principles and some form of process or structure to guide the work, smart individuals can make big things happen.

It’s still early days in your time with TopRank Marketing, but so far, what excites you the most about the agency?

TopRank Marketing is ahead of the curve in the content marketing space–real thought leaders in the world of influencer marketing. They are their own, best case study for how to do it right….not the typical “cobbler with no shoes” scenario. There’s a real sense of excitement and curiosity on the team–they inspire and energize each other!

What are some of your overall goals for 2018?

My main goal will be to optimize the efforts of all the smart people of TopRank. They are doing amazing work; I can help bring greater alignment between people and systems and processes to support growth. In order to do this, it will be important for each team member to explore and develop their own professional identity and goals; I want to help with this. It’s the most exciting aspect of the work for me.

Now for some fun questions:

Where would you go on a dream vacation?

My adventuresome mom, Rose, traveled the world and would come home with stories that were so enchanting and thrilling to me. In particular, I was taken by the way she described Portugal–the feeling it evoked in her–homey and foreign at once. The treacherous driving and the blue, blue water; the caves where they made wine and whiskey, and the pottery, of course. The warm, welcoming people. The patrons playing the piano in the basement pub of the ancient palace where they stayed. It’s been on the top of my list ever since she came back. I hope it’s exactly as she recalls.

What is your favorite band, book and movie?

Music: Nina Simone is my current obsession. I’m a big Lucinda Williams fan…and I have a deep love-hate for Dylan. Favorite book might still be The Catcher in the Rye. Movie: Muriel’s Wedding always lifts my spirits, if I make it through the end.

What do you love most about Minnesota?

The month of October is magical to me. And family, of course: ten of my eleven siblings live here in Minnesota–several recently returned after many years away. I left for a few years too, after college–to Alaska then the San Francisco Bay Area, both of which l still have a great fondness for, but Minneapolis is home.

What brings you joy?

Young Joni’s clam pizza and Indeed’s Peach Bum IPA at the moment. The many lovely children in my life.

Let’s play word association. I’ll list some social networks and you share the first word(s) that come to mind:

  • Facebook – Russian trolls
  • Twitter – Donald Trump
  • LinkedIn – Impressively less spammy these days
  • Instagram – Fun and personal visual storytelling
  • Snapchat – Are they profitable yet?
  • YouTube – My go-to for cooking tutorials
  • Pinterest – Great for big life moments
  • Tumblr – Meme generator
  • Reddit – Same as above
  • Google+ – Never bothered
  • WhatsApp – Free calls to my sister in England!
  • Flickr – GenX Instagram

Thanks for playing along with my questions Katie and welcome to the TopRank Marketing team!


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5 Questions to Answer BEFORE You Develop a Social Media Strategy http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/questions-developing-social-strategy/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/questions-developing-social-strategy/#respond Mon, 06 Nov 2017 11:30:56 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23209 Last weekend I decided to build something. So I went to Home Depot and asked a nice man in an orange apron to tell me what supplies I needed. “Okay, what are you building?” he asked. “Oh, you know, something…maybe out of wood? Perhaps a birdhouse, or some furniture, or a planter,” I replied. “Don’t [...]

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Last weekend I decided to build something. So I went to Home Depot and asked a nice man in an orange apron to tell me what supplies I needed. “Okay, what are you building?” he asked.

“Oh, you know, something…maybe out of wood? Perhaps a birdhouse, or some furniture, or a planter,” I replied. “Don’t worry; I have lots of tools and I’ve seen other people build things, so I’m ready to go. Just tell me what I need to buy.”

“I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” he replied.

Okay, so none of the above happened (call it poetic license). It’s a ridiculous scenario, right? Who would start building something without knowing what they needed, why they were building it, and what the finished product would be?

As ill-advised as it sounds, though, plenty of businesses are taking that approach to social media strategy. Our agency has seen clients ready to jump into tactics – channels, paid vs. organic, content creation – without developing the fundamentals of the strategy. They don’t know if they’re building a birdhouse or finishing a basement, but they’re powering up the table saw.

Before you start working on your social media presence, it’s vital to answer a few fundamental questions. Five questions, in fact:

 

#1: Who Are You?

If your brand was a person, would you want to hang out with them? It’s a vital question, because you’re asking people to do just that – to willingly interact on a social level with your brand.

So it’s vital to know how you will convey your brand’s values on social media (assuming you have your brand values firmly established).  You’ll need to develop a personality that is consistent with your brand but fits with the level of discourse on each social media channel.

Here are a few considerations to get you started. There are no universally correct answers to these questions, of course; it’s all about what fits your brand.

Is your brand:

  • Funny or serious?
  • Knowledgeable or inquisitive?
  • Smart like a scholar or sharp like a poker player?
  • Formal or casual?
  • Sincere or sarcastic?

Many of your answers may lie somewhere in the middle. In that case, determine where you fit on the continuum between each extreme.

At the end of the above exercise, you should have a list of four or five adjectives that describe how your brand will interact on social media: “Our brand is knowledgeable and helpful, gently humorous but sincere.

 

#2: Where Are You Now?

In a large organization, you likely already have multiple social media accounts, with multiple departments and people running them. That sort of ad hoc administration won’t do for strategic social media marketing.

Take time to map your brand’s existing social media presence, including brand accounts and high-level executive accounts. Include anyone who is actively speaking on behalf of the brand.

Once you’ve done the audit, you can consolidate channels, see which channels marketing should take over, and provide direction to channels you won’t be directly controlling.

 

#3: Why Is Your Audience on a Particular Channel?

People generally come to Instagram to post pretty pictures and check out other people’s cool photography. On LinkedIn, they want to read business articles that will help advance their career. On Facebook, they want to discuss politics with people who already agree with them. Each social channel has a different purpose, and that will inform how your brand interacts on each.

To see what kind of content your audience prizes, use a tool like Buzzsumo to track the top-performing and trending content relevant to your industry. See what people are liking, sharing, pinning, etc., and you’ll be better equipped to give audiences what they’re looking for.

 

#4: What Do You Want to Accomplish on Each Channel?

Now that you know who you are, what your raw materials are, and what your audience wants, it’s time to get to it. What are you building? Without that key element, there’s no strategy, just a series of random online interactions.

Your goals should be different for each channel. Think about what each channel is good for, what your presence already looks like, and the actions audiences can take from each. On Twitter, your goal might be raising awareness, and promoting thought leadership. But on LinkedIn you might want to capture the audience by driving them to blog subscriptions and gated assets.

Set a general goal for each channel, as well as measurable sub-goals. You should have clear metrics you can analyze and optimize.

 

#5: What Are Your KPIs (In Order of Importance)?

In a perfect world, every social media activity would increase subscribers, capture leads, and promote conversions all at once. We have plenty of prospective clients who ask for just that: An all-of-the-above approach.

Unfortunately, doing everything at once frequently means doing none of it effectively. It’s important to establish your key performance indicators, but also to prioritize them. These priorities can (and should) change over time, but you should have a starting list before you plan a campaign.

You might start with the primary goal of increasing your social audience, a secondary goal of driving subscribers to your site, and downloading an asset or other conversion as a tertiary goal. That’s enough differentiation to guide an informed strategy. Then, once you have built that audience, you might shift primary focus to the more middle and bottom-of-funnel efforts.

 

Birdhouse, Basement or Bathtub?

Before you start developing your social media strategy, take time to understand what you want to build and what materials you have to work with. Get your fundamentals straight before you start strategizing, and definitely finish the strategy before you start implementing tactics.

All that groundwork will help you treat social media as the powerful marketing tool it is. You will be far better equipped to succeed. Even better, you’ll know what success looks like, and you’ll be able to prove it to management.

Ready to strategize? Check out the fundamental elements of a successful social media marketing strategy.


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Should I Hire an In-House Digital Marketing Specialist or Tap an Agency for Help? http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/hire-specialist-or-agency/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/11/hire-specialist-or-agency/#comments Thu, 02 Nov 2017 10:30:00 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23205 The digital marketing landscape is changing at a rapid pace, with many organizations planning to up their budgets and diversify their tactics in the coming years. In fact, according to Forrester research, CMOs will spend nearly $119 billion on search marketing, display advertising, online video and email marketing by 2021. “Over the next five years, [...]

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The digital marketing landscape is changing at a rapid pace, with many organizations planning to up their budgets and diversify their tactics in the coming years. In fact, according to Forrester research, CMOs will spend nearly $119 billion on search marketing, display advertising, online video and email marketing by 2021.

“Over the next five years, search will lose share to display and social advertising while video will scale,” Forrester said. “These changes reflect a new emphasis on quality over quantity, a dynamic that will reintroduce human intervention into programmatic ad buying, turn marketers into growth hackers, and put long-tail publishers out of business.”

To keep pace with these trends and take advantage of growth opportunities, many marketers are wondering how they can best leverage their resources, tools and budgets. As a result, a question that has likely come up is: Should we make a new in-house hire to achieve our goals or is an agency partnership a better fit?

As we close in on two decades of work in the digital marketing realm, our experience tells us there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Every organization is at a different digital marketing maturity level, which requires a tailored approach in order to scale their initiatives and drive results.

So, before your post a job req or sign an agreement with an agency, ask yourself the following questions:

#1 – What are my marketing objectives?

Your goals are the foundation of your marketing strategy, guiding every decision and tactic that comes next. As a result, evaluating your goals is a critical first step in weighing your hiring options. Essentially, you need to consider whether an agency or new in-house talent can put you in the best position to reach your goals.

#2 – What kind of expertise am I looking to add to the team?

Generally speaking, most digital marketers have highly-specific skill sets. So, if your strategy calls for adding or expanding a specific area of expertise such as video production or graphic design, hiring in-house may be a great option.

However, if you’re looking for a jack of all trades, an agency will definitely be better equipped. Why? Because you’ll be able to leverage a team of highly-specialized experts at once.

#3 – How niche is my industry?

This one can cut both ways. If your organization is part of a highly-niche industry, you can certainly bring someone in who already has related experience or can be nurtured as an internal subject matter expert. That said, agencies are staffed with fast-learning individuals who can fill the SME role, too. So, this one may come down to preference and bandwidth.

#4 – What’s the bandwidth of my current in-house team?

Your current in-house team likely has a big workload and/or lacks the specific expertise needed to achieve specific goals. So, if you’re looking to ease their burden or diversify a specific area of talent, hiring in-house talent is a great option — as long as you can commit the training, nurturing and management resources.

If you’re looking for a more hands-off option or can’t commit resources to managing an in-house hire, an agency will likely be a better fit. Hiring in-house typically requires more time and resources to make them successful (i.e. onboarding and ongoing training), whereas hiring an agency could give you more flexibility. In addition, agencies can often take on short-term projects with tight deadlines.

#5 – What’s my budget?

Your budget likely has the final say in your decision-making process. So, using your answers to the previous questions, think about how you can best stretch that budget. Does it make financial sense to add new team members or to outsource to an agency?

Get A Little Help in Answering These Questions

You know you need to make a hire to achieve your goals. And it’s a big decision. If you’re wondering what an agency can bring to the table, we’d love to chat with you. You tell us your hopes, wishes, dreams, goals and needs, and we’ll give you options and honesty.


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© Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®, 2017. | Should I Hire an In-House Digital Marketing Specialist or Tap an Agency for Help? | http://www.toprankblog.com

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3 Mouth-Watering Content Marketing Case Studies That Bring Home the Bacon http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/10/3-mouth-watering-content-case-studies/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/10/3-mouth-watering-content-case-studies/#respond Wed, 18 Oct 2017 10:30:35 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23116 If you’ve ever been pregnant, lived with a woman who’s pregnant or even just been around a pregnant woman, you can guess it is not smart to lie to a woman who’s pregnant about food. Well that’s how I felt today. 6 months along and in arrives a marketing email with the subject line: “[Infographic] [...]

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If you’ve ever been pregnant, lived with a woman who’s pregnant or even just been around a pregnant woman, you can guess it is not smart to lie to a woman who’s pregnant about food.

Well that’s how I felt today. 6 months along and in arrives a marketing email with the subject line: “[Infographic] Good Marketing starts with good snacks.” Yes, I understand, I’m not literally going to get any food out of this, but I expect to see some mouth-watering graphics upon opening the email. Nope.

Instead I found food references in the copy like “Are you giving your prospects nourishing snacks or asking them to bite off more than they can chew?” and “Make your content highly snackable”. Still, this email teased me enough to click on the CTA to the infographic: Surely within it food will reside!

The infographic was 100% unrelated to food. This is what I call an unfulfilled promise.

As content creators, it’s our job to catch our audience’s attention. Check, done. But it is also our jobs to pay off what we’ve promised the audience within our content.

So, today, my promise – like my headline, title tag and meta description state – is to fill your senses with mouth-watering case studies of money-making campaigns. In following best practices, like delivering on a promise, this content has been able to drive outstanding results, bringing home the bacon for brands. Oh, and I might include some tasty food pics. I mean, “mouth-watering” and “bacon” are in my headline.

Paid-First Digital Marketing Strategy Drove Impressive ROI in Month One

The Strategy:

A new client came to TopRank Marketing recently craving customers – FAST. Sound familiar? But seriously, this B2B startup needed to see ROI as the first course – not dessert – in order to be able to keep investing. In addition, they were looking for support in SEO, developing landing pages in the short-term and gathering the insights needed to create a long-term organic content strategy.

We used AdWords to drive leads quickly and to test keyword viability for the landing page content and to help inform the upcoming organic content plan.

The Results:

Just four weeks after launch, we had driven 18 leads with an average CPL of $192. For this client, a single lead has the average value of $5,000-$20,000 (and sometimes up to $100,000) in revenue. In talking with the client, we were able to uncover that within one month we had driven roughly $10,000-$75,000 in ROI. 

Takeaway for Marketers:

Don’t get discouraged by tight timelines. Hyper focus on your core marketing objectives and pivot to tactics that you know can fulfill them – even if it seems out of order. Just be sure to set expectations with your leadership team as to why you’re making a shift, what your hypothesis is and what results you anticipate.


Focus on core marketing objectives and pivot tactics that you know can fulfill them.
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Interactive, Multi-Channel Campaign Resulted in 4% Lift in Market Share, 12M Media Impressions

The Strategy:

By now you’ve heard about and likely drank at least one can of Coca Cola that held the “Share a Coke” campaign branding. Did you know the campaign started in Australia? The challenge was Coke had lost its relevance among Australians leaving sales in a not so happy place.

Coca Cola added the 150 most popular names to their cans and bottles, changing their biggest piece of advertising real estate. Supporting tactics from traditional to digital platforms rolled out from there: #ShareACoke hashtag, apps, an interactive website, outdoor billboards, interactive kiosks in top city centers and more.

Customers fueled digital content for the #ShareACoke campaign.

The Results:

From the initial campaign, in Australia alone, Coke earned 12 million media impressions, a 7% increase in young adult consumption and a 4% increase in sales across the category. With this success, Coca Cola has pushed it out to nearly 60 markets since their 2011 launch and have continued to add additional tactics. One of the more recent additions aimed to turn the enthusiasm for the campaign into even more revenue and earned advertising. To achieve this, Coke has begun selling personalized bottles and gear.

Takeaway for Marketers:

B2B or B2C – A truly impactful campaign integrates with the entire customer experience. Just because your packaging department is in a different building or state from your digital advertising or SEO departments doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t work together. Put your heads together across disciplines to unlock potential you never saw before.


A truly impactful marketing campaign integrates with the entire customer experience.
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Consistent Publishing and Strategic Partnerships Drove 15.5% Increase in Revenue

The Strategy:

When this B2B and B2C eCommerce company came to TopRank Marketing wanting to drive sales, we knew a breadth of integrated tactics would be the way to reach their lofty revenue goals. And, we saw a huge opportunity to leverage co-created content with influencers and other brands as a way to drive stronger brand awareness. To reach their objectives, we deployed a strong marketing mix of weekly blogs, co-created influencer content, SEO, organic social, paid social and AdWords.

The Results:

In just under one year, we were able to drive a 14.4% increase in organic traffic, and 7.7% overall. The even more appetizing part of the story is these traffic spikes resulted in a 23.7% increase in organic revenue year over year; 15.5% increase in overall website revenue year over year!

Takeaway for Marketers:

A consistent cadence of relevant, SEO-driven blog content set the foundation for success for this client. And, what really made the difference was our strategic partnerships with influencers and other brands. The co-created content bolstered brand awareness in a way this brand had never before seen.


Use SEO & content to set the foundation and form strategic partnerships with influencers.
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Are You Bringing Home the Bacon?

Hopefully, you just read all of that and thought, “I know. I already do all of that. I eat unlimited bacon!” If that’s you – fantastic! Are you looking for a job? We’re always open to strengthening our team!

But all joking aside, a wise marketer knows there is always more to learn. Keep up on the latest digital marketing trends and tactics by following our blog, or if you’re interested in learning what TopRank Marketing can do to help your business bring home the bacon, please, reach out today.


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Making B2B Marketing Gold: A Look Back at MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum #MPB2B http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/10/b2b-marketing-forum/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/10/b2b-marketing-forum/#comments Wed, 11 Oct 2017 10:30:32 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23090 To open up the 2017 MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, Chief Content Officer Ann Handley shared a challenge for attendees to keep top of mind while at the conference (in addition to tap dancing, but more about that later): #1 – Find Your Squad This has been a running theme for the B2B Marketing Forum for [...]

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Image via MarketingProfs

To open up the 2017 MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, Chief Content Officer Ann Handley shared a challenge for attendees to keep top of mind while at the conference (in addition to tap dancing, but more about that later):

#1 – Find Your Squad

This has been a running theme for the B2B Marketing Forum for as long as I can remember. Because the conference is capped at around 1,000 attendees, you actually have the opportunity to run into some familiar faces during the conference.

Even if you traveled to the event with members of your own team, it’s important to make the effort to meet new people, “your people”. I’ve been lucky to meet some really amazing people at conferences and continue to be in contact with many of them to this day.

We were fortunate to have a team at MPB2B that included myself, Lee Odden, Alexis Hall and Dan Rasmussen. This is a theme that resonates very well with us as we are constantly looking to add new members to our squad at TopRank Marketing in the form of new team members, industry influencers and prospective clients.

#2 – Go Outside Your Comfort Zone

It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert, there will be situations that push you outside of your comfort zone. It could be walking up and starting a conversation with someone you’ve never met, interviewing one of your marketing heros, or for me, speaking on stage at my favorite conference to a room full of smart marketers.

Often, once you do make the effort to step outside of your comfort zone you quickly find that you’re actually having fun and wish you would have taken strides sooner.

These two challenges posed by Ann Handley led our team to push ourselves at this conference and align very well with some of our core values. Below is a recap of how we found our squad, went outside our comfort zones and learned as much as we could in an action packed three days.

Celebrating Squad & Comfort Zone Queen Ann Handley

If you’re like most marketers, Ann Handley’s squad is one that you want to be a part of. Ann is a genuinely kind, warm and incredibly smart individual that I feel lucky to know. But don’t take my word for it, see what some of today’s top B2B marketers had to say:

And if I thought that I stepped out of my comfort zone at MPB2B, it didn’t even come close to Ann taking the stage and tap dancing her little heart out in front of 1,000 marketers:

Spending Time with our Squad

Marketing events present a great opportunity to spend time with the marketers that you love and respect the most. We were fortunate that many of these people were at MPB2B last week.

The first night we were lucky enough to spend some time with our squad from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions (who also happen to be a TopRank Marketing client). This group of marketers are some of the most talented and driven people I know.

Thanks for the memories!

On night two, TopRank Marketing hosted a VIP event that included some of our amazing clients, friends and top influencers at the conference.

Thank you everyone for taking the time out of your slammed schedules to share some drinks, eats and conversation with our team!

Sharing Smarts with Fellow Marketers

Events present the opportunity to learn from some of the top marketing minds in the industry. And since we know not everyone was able to attend MPB2B, we set out to capture some of the top insights from the conference. Below is what we uncovered:

Why to ROI: Proving the Value of B2B Influencer Marketing

Even though B2B marketers have begun to explore influencer marketing further in recent years, they’re still struggling to prove the ROI of these efforts. In his session, TopRank Marketing’s Lee Odden shared 5 essential steps for driving ROI with B2B influencer marketing.


Look to your left and right. Those people are influential about something. @leeodden
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Everything You Need to Build a LinkedIn Marketing Tactical Plan

While the majority of marketers believe that LinkedIn is THE social media channel for business, many are struggling to implement a LinkedIn strategy that garners results. These takeaways from LinkedIn’s Alex Rynne and HubSpot’s Chris Wilson will help you get closer to success.


Don’t DO social campaigns, make every campaign social. @amrynnie
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If You Only Had $1k to Invest in Content Marketing, How Would You Spend it?

Limited budget, time and resources are a struggle that all content marketers face, no matter the size of their organization. In his presentation, GE Digital’s Chris Moody shared quick tips for advancing your content as well as a breakdown for how a limited budget of $1k could be spent for maximum impact.


There is no excuse for us not to be data driven marketers. @cnmoody
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The Netflix Experience: Create Binge-Worthy B2B Content

One of the top objectives for many brands today is to find a way to get audiences to binge on their content. But, creating binge-worthy content takes effort. See Ardath Albee’s top tips for creating content sure to keep your audience coming back for more.


Change the way a buyer thinks about a problem & they’ll look to you for more. @ardath421
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Learn How to Connect Actions to results Using Marketing Attribution

Marketing activities that aren’t tied to results make it difficult to prove value. BrightFunnel’s Dayna Rothman shows how marketers can turn the buyer journey into a science by properly leveraging data and analytics.


Always keep testing and optimizing! @dayroth
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In addition to his session covered above, Lee also participated in a panel about the convergence of ABM and Content Marketing. This panel provided great insights on how brands can reprogram organizational tactics to create a more focused, hyper-personalized approach to ABM.

On the final day of the conference, I took the stage for the first time at MPB2B to discuss scrappy B2B creativity hacks with my panelists Nick Westergaard and Andy Hunt. As this was the last session on the last day of the conference, we decided to make our session interactive and answer the audience’s most burning questions about B2B creativity.

Image via @michaelnob

Who are the 50 Top B2B Marketing Influencers From MPB2B?

B2B Marketing Influencers

As is tradition, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden gathered the marketers speaking at the B2B Marketing Forum and ran them through Traackr to see which ones ranked highest related to B2B marketing. Want to see who made the cute? Read: 50 Top B2B Marketing Influencers 2017

Coming Soon: Marketing Expert Interview Series

While at the B2B Marketing Forum, Dan Rasmussen and I had the opportunity to interview seven leading marketing experts on everything from their journey into content marketing, to what they predict as the future for content marketers.

Subscribe to our blog today to get first-access to this exciting new interview series!

Thanks for an Action-Packed Event!

Thank you to Ann and the entire team at MarketingProfs for putting on a first-class event. We can’t wait to see what next year’s conference in San Francisco holds!

If you were lucky enough to attend this great event, what was your top takeaway?


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Digital Marketing News: The Perfect Sales Page, YouTube Changes & Instagram Polls http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/10/digital-marketing-news-100617/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/10/digital-marketing-news-100617/#respond Fri, 06 Oct 2017 10:30:02 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23038

How to Write a Persuasive Sales Page (Even If You Hate Selling) [Infographic]
Selling doesn't have to be 'sleazy' -- it can be helpful, timely and informative. This infographic shows exactly how to perfect your website's sales page to be informative, helpful, and not at all creepy to your intended buyers. MarketingProfs

YouTube Changes Rules Regarding Videos With External Links
YouTube is restricting which accounts are able to add external links at the end of videos. The new requirements are that the user is a member of the YouTube Partner Program and your channel must have 10,000 total public views (or more). Search Engine Journal

Instagram Adds Polls in Stories, New Creative Tools
Instagram is adding a new way for users to conduct polls using a sticker option that allows users to ask a question within their Instagram Stories and see results from followers as they engage with the polls. Social Media Today

Google releases a variety of Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) updates
This week, Google announced several AMP technical updates. Updates include scrolling animations, responsive sidebar, native video analytics and support, improved client ID information and fluid-ad support for publishers. Search Engine Land

YouTube Advertising: New Research and Insights for Marketers
Considering advertising on YouTube but unsure of best practices and next steps? This roundup of news and insights from Social Media Examiner shows four key insights and takeaways to help you get started or optimize your current program. Social Media Examiner

LinkedIn to launch Talent Insights, a new analytics tool, as it dives deeper into data
TechCrunch reports: "LinkedIn Talent Insights, a self-service, big data analytics product that will let recruiters make deeper queries into statistics for hiring and employment, based on LinkedIn data. Talent Insights is being announced in a closed beta today at the company’s Talent Connect event, with a full launch in 2018." TechCrunch

Snapchat rolls out Sponsored 3D World Lenses, bringing its AR format to advertisers
Snapchat has released its latest AR ad format. Now advertisers can create their own versions of Snapchat's 3D World Lenses. This will allow users to augment videos shot with their device's rear facing cameras with animated 3D objects. Marketing Land

80% of Instagram Users Voluntarily Connect With a Brand on the Platform
According to Instagram's COO, Marne Levine, 80% of users connect to a business voluntarily. She said: "Shrinking the distance between businesses and customers and bringing you closer to the things that matter to you is really something that we’re focused on.” AdWeek

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We'll be back next week with more news! Have something to share? Tweet to @toprank or @Tiffani_Allen, or shoot a message over to the newsroom.

The post Digital Marketing News: The Perfect Sales Page, YouTube Changes & Instagram Polls appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Write a Persuasive Sales Page (Even If You Hate Selling) [Infographic] Selling doesn't have to be 'sleazy' -- it can be helpful, timely and informative. This infographic shows exactly how to perfect your website's sales page to be informative, helpful, and not at all creepy to your intended buyers. MarketingProfs YouTube Changes Rules Regarding Videos With External Links YouTube is restricting which accounts are able to add external links at the end of videos. The new requirements are that the user is a member of the YouTube Partner Program and your channel must have 10,000 total public views (or more). Search Engine Journal Instagram Adds Polls in Stories, New Creative Tools Instagram is adding a new way for users to conduct polls using a sticker option that allows users to ask a question within their Instagram Stories and see results from followers as they engage with the polls. Social Media Today Google releases a variety of Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP) updates This week, Google announced several AMP technical updates. Updates include scrolling animations, responsive sidebar, native video analytics and support, improved client ID information and fluid-ad support for publishers. Search Engine Land YouTube Advertising: New Research and Insights for Marketers Considering advertising on YouTube but unsure of best practices and next steps? This roundup of news and insights from Social Media Examiner shows four key insights and takeaways to help you get started or optimize your current program. Social Media Examiner LinkedIn to launch Talent Insights, a new analytics tool, as it dives deeper into data TechCrunch reports: "LinkedIn Talent Insights, a self-service, big data analytics product that will let recruiters make deeper queries into statistics for hiring and employment, based on LinkedIn data. Talent Insights is being announced in a closed beta today at the company’s Talent Connect event, with a full launch in 2018." TechCrunch Snapchat rolls out Sponsored 3D World Lenses, bringing its AR format to advertisers Snapchat has released its latest AR ad format. Now advertisers can create their own versions of Snapchat's 3D World Lenses. This will allow users to augment videos shot with their device's rear facing cameras with animated 3D objects. Marketing Land 80% of Instagram Users Voluntarily Connect With a Brand on the Platform According to Instagram's COO, Marne Levine, 80% of users connect to a business voluntarily. She said: "Shrinking the distance between businesses and customers and bringing you closer to the things that matter to you is really something that we’re focused on.” AdWeek What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We'll be back next week with more news! Have something to share? Tweet to @toprank or @Tiffani_Allen, or shoot a message over to the newsroom.

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Digital Marketing News: LinkedIn Top Content, Twitter Gets Character & Apple Goes Google http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/digital-marketing-news-092917/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/digital-marketing-news-092917/#respond Fri, 29 Sep 2017 10:30:32 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=23005

The Content Preferences of LinkedIn Members [Infographic]
What kinds of content do LinkedIn users prefer? A new infographic shows that LinkedIn users prefer content that's informative, educational and relevant. MarketingProfs

Giving you more characters to express yourself
Twitter recently announced they're giving us an additional 140 characters with which to convey our deepest, Tweetiest thoughts by upping their character count to 280. They believe this will encourage more active posting on their platform. Twitter

Apple switches from Bing to Google for Siri web search results on iOS and Spotlight on Mac
Apple has finally made the plunge with Google - when you search with Siri on your iOS device or Mac, you'll be shown search results from Google. In other news, none of that would have made any sense 20 years ago (according to Josh Nite). TechCrunch

Adding LinkedIn’s Profile Card on Office 365 Offers a Simple Way to Build a Professional Relationship
LinkedIn and Microsoft have made it official recently with the anticipated rollout of the ability to integrate your personal LinkedIn profile card with your Office 365 profile. Full details and how-to's are available, and the release will happen over the next couple of weeks. LinkedIn

Know Their Intention, Get Their Attention: New Ways to Connect and Measure on YouTube
Google has announced four new tools to help brands and users "capture the attention of your audience on YouTube." These tools include Custom Affinity Audiences, Video Ad Sequencing and more. Inside AdWords

Instagram Hits 800 Million Monthly Users, Adding 100 Million in Just 5 Months
AdWeek reports: "After announcing this morning that Instagram has 2 million advertisers, the Facebook-owned app also says that it has 800 million monthly users, up from 700 million in April." AdWeek

Report: The future of paid-search marketing is machine learning and AI
"Machine learning-optimized campaigns saw 71 percent better conversion rates and lower CPCs than those not using it." At least, that's what Search Engine Land makes of the recent report from Acquisio. Search Engine Land

Only A Third Of Ad Execs Trust Their Audience Data, Measurements
According to a recent survey, only 33% of advertising executives consider their data to be completely trustworthy. Only 29% said they felt their audience analytics/measurement was completely accurate. MediaPost

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news! If you have something to share, pass it along to the newsroom or Tweet me @Tiffani_Allen or @toprank.

The post Digital Marketing News: LinkedIn Top Content, Twitter Gets Character & Apple Goes Google appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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The Content Preferences of LinkedIn Members [Infographic] What kinds of content do LinkedIn users prefer? A new infographic shows that LinkedIn users prefer content that's informative, educational and relevant. MarketingProfs Giving you more characters to express yourself Twitter recently announced they're giving us an additional 140 characters with which to convey our deepest, Tweetiest thoughts by upping their character count to 280. They believe this will encourage more active posting on their platform. Twitter Apple switches from Bing to Google for Siri web search results on iOS and Spotlight on Mac Apple has finally made the plunge with Google - when you search with Siri on your iOS device or Mac, you'll be shown search results from Google. In other news, none of that would have made any sense 20 years ago (according to Josh Nite). TechCrunch Adding LinkedIn’s Profile Card on Office 365 Offers a Simple Way to Build a Professional Relationship LinkedIn and Microsoft have made it official recently with the anticipated rollout of the ability to integrate your personal LinkedIn profile card with your Office 365 profile. Full details and how-to's are available, and the release will happen over the next couple of weeks. LinkedIn Know Their Intention, Get Their Attention: New Ways to Connect and Measure on YouTube Google has announced four new tools to help brands and users "capture the attention of your audience on YouTube." These tools include Custom Affinity Audiences, Video Ad Sequencing and more. Inside AdWords Instagram Hits 800 Million Monthly Users, Adding 100 Million in Just 5 Months AdWeek reports: "After announcing this morning that Instagram has 2 million advertisers, the Facebook-owned app also says that it has 800 million monthly users, up from 700 million in April." AdWeek Report: The future of paid-search marketing is machine learning and AI "Machine learning-optimized campaigns saw 71 percent better conversion rates and lower CPCs than those not using it." At least, that's what Search Engine Land makes of the recent report from Acquisio. Search Engine Land Only A Third Of Ad Execs Trust Their Audience Data, Measurements According to a recent survey, only 33% of advertising executives consider their data to be completely trustworthy. Only 29% said they felt their audience analytics/measurement was completely accurate. MediaPost What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news! If you have something to share, pass it along to the newsroom or Tweet me @Tiffani_Allen or @toprank.

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Beyond Google Keyword Planner: 7 Easy-to-Use SEO Research Tools for Generating Content Ideas http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/seo-research-tools-content/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/seo-research-tools-content/#respond Wed, 27 Sep 2017 10:30:31 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22988 As a content marketer, you know that your target audience needs to be at the center of your content strategy. After all, modern content marketing was born to help you create valuable content that satisfies your audience’s quest for answers throughout their customer journey. However, as the digital landscape becomes increasingly crowded with content — [...]

The post Beyond Google Keyword Planner: 7 Easy-to-Use SEO Research Tools for Generating Content Ideas appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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As a content marketer, you know that your target audience needs to be at the center of your content strategy. After all, modern content marketing was born to help you create valuable content that satisfies your audience’s quest for answers throughout their customer journey.

However, as the digital landscape becomes increasingly crowded with content — and you feel more and more pressure to create content in less time — you’re likely looking for quick and dirty ways to create SEO-friendly, best-answer content that doesn’t require loads of your precious time. As a result, your first stop on the research train is likely Google’s Keyword Planner tool. But, let’s face it, while it’s an excellent tool, it can only get you so far.

The good news? There are several helpful research tools that can help you uncover real questions your audience is asking around the web — allowing you to gain new audience insights and fill your content plan with relevant, SEO-infused topics. Below we dive into some of those research tools that can help you do just that.

#1 – Answer the Public

Answer the Public brings Google’s auto suggest feature to visual life. Type in any keyword or phrase, and the almost immediately you’ll be served up a visual representation of queries that are organized by specific question modifiers such as who, what, where, when, why, how, will, are and can.

What makes this tool so fantastic is that it not only helps you identify topics, but potentially some of the nuances of intent behind those questions. The best part? It’s completely free and you can sign up for a short email course to help you use the tool “like a pro.”

Answer the Public for Content Planning

#2 – BuzzSumo’s Question Analyzer

BuzzSumo’s recently launched Question Analyzer feature is incredible, allowing you to find the most popular questions being asked from across the web. How? Essentially, BuzzSumo has created a database of real questions from thousands of platforms, including forums, Amazon, Reddit, Quora and other Q&A sites. Just type in a keyword and get a list of related questions sorted by topic, as well as details on volume.

BuzzSumo Question Analyzer

Total access to this tool does require a BuzzSumo Plus subscription; however, you can sign up for a free trial for this feature and try before you buy.

#3 – Übersuggest

Like Answer the Public, Übersuggest pulls in various Google’s auto suggest keyword queries. And while the tool doesn’t create the same kind of visual representation of questions, the Word Cloud feature does help you connect the dots in a more visual way. In addition, each keyword query allows you to select “Google Trends” so you can get a closer look at seasonality — which is great for future planning. Finally, Übersuggest prides itself on being a tool that can help you uncover new keywords that aren’t available in Google’s Keyword Planner tool.

#4 – KewordTool.io

Of course, we can’t mention Answer the Public or Übersuggest without mentioning KeywordTool.io. Like the former two tools, KeywordTool.io also uses Google’s auto suggest queries as its data source. In addition, like Übersuggest, KeywordTool.io allows you to tap into Google Trends and find keywords that aren’t readily displayed in Google Keyword Planner. So, on the surface, the main differentiator between these tools is user experience.

However, from what I can tell, KeywordTool.io’s paid version, Keyword Tool Pro, offers a little something different than the others. According to the website, “Keyword Tool Pro will not only give you keywords that are hidden from everyone else but will also provide you with necessary data to sort and rank the newly discovered keywords. You will be able to see how often people search for a keyword on Google (Search Volume), how competitive (AdWords Competition), and lucrative (CPC) the keywords are.”

KewordTool.io for Content Marketing

For many marketers, the final benefit may be the most intriguing, as we’re always looking to connect business value to our efforts.

#5 – Google Search Console

Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools, is one of the most helpful SEO and content planning tools out there. From a technical standpoint, Google Search Console enables you to monitor and maintain your entire website’s presence in Google search results. But from a content planning perspective, Google Search Console allows you to see which queries actually caused your site’s content to appear in search results.

The best part? You can filter by page, allowing you to see how a specific piece of content is drawing visibility. This means you can not only find opportunities to optimize existing content with other related keywords it’s coming up for, but also identify gaps and related topics that can spawn additional content.

Google Search Console for Content Research

#6 – Ahrefs

Back in 2011, Ahrefs launched as an backlinks analysis tool. Since then, the tool has grown into a helpful competitive analysis tool, allowing users to get a deeper understanding of how and why their competitors are ranking — and how they may be able to leapfrog them in the SERPs.

When it comes to generating SEO-infused content ideas, there are a few features that are useful. For starters, the Keywords Explorer allows you to find keywords, analyze their ranking difficulty and calculate the potential traffic you could achieve. Then you have the Content Explorer, which helps you find the most popular content for any topics based on backlinks, organic traffic and social shares. Finally, the Content Gap feature allows you to explore the keywords that your competitors are ranking for, but you don’t.

Ahrefs for Content Marketing Research

While this tool isn’t free, you can sign up for a free trial. If you like it, there are a handful of monthly subscription options at different price points.

#7 – SEMrush

Generally speaking, SEMrush offers a lot of the same benefits as Ahrefs — from discovering and analyzing keywords to conducting competitive analysis. But one feature that is particularly interesting and helpful is the Social Media Tracker.

These days, social media marketing is an important and necessary part of any digital marketing strategy, serving as an engagement and content dissemination platform. With the Social Media Tracker, you’re able to compare your engagement trends to that of your competitors, as well as see the best-performing posts in terms of engagement. You can then use these insights to craft better, more relevant content that will get more traction on your social pages.

SEMrush Social Media Tracker

How Do You Choose Which Tools Are Right for You?

Your industry, budget, internal resources and unique business objectives are all deserving of consideration when selecting research tools that will be a good fit. But, with nearly all of these tools offering free usage or free trials, you certainly have nothing to lose by carving out a little time to test them out. So, choose one to start with and go from there.

What are some of your go-to research tools for generating interesting and relevant content ideas? Tell us in the comments section below.


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Digital Marketing News: Predictive Analytics, Blockchain and Email Marketing Industry Report http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/digital-marketing-news-092217/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/digital-marketing-news-092217/#respond Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:30:21 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22966

Predictive Analytics: Predicting Customer Behavior to Improve ROI
As marketers, we’re always trying to stay ahead of the curve. But, does that curve factor in what customers or clients are looking for? This infographic shows us how predictive analytics can help do just that. Business 2 Community

IAB sets up Blockchain Working Group for advertising
Does blockchain have a place in marketing? According to recent reports, blockchain is no longer only for those trading bitcoin, it can provide a highly secure and transparent way to manage funds. MarketingLand

2017 Email Marketing Industry Report
Marketers are feeling overwhelmed. They don’t have the resources needed to do the marketing they’d like to do. This is evident in email marketing particularly because many marketers surveyed say email marketing drives ROI but it’s not integrated with their marketing strategy overall. Digital Marketing Depot

[REPORT] The State of Social Video 2017: Marketing in a Video-First World
“According to Cisco, video will make up 80% of consumer online traffic by 2020, and Mark Zuckerberg said he sees video ‘as a mega trend on the same order as mobile.’ Animoto set out to shed light on the video-first landscape.” Animoto

Apple’s New Animojis Are the Latest Sign That Brands Need to Embrace Augmented Reality
Tailing on the news of the release of Apple’s new iPhones, there is an exciting new development. What happens when you mix artificial intelligence and a leading technology company? You get, animojis! Apple’s version of the Snapchat’s Lens, this feature enables brands to connect with younger audiences in a meaningful way. AdWeek

Email Marketing To Total $22.2 Billion In 2025: Study
MediaPost reports: “The total dollar volume of email marketing will hit roughly $22.2 billion by the end of 2025, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.60%, according to a study by Transparency Market Research. Last year, the annual total was U.S. $4.5 billion.” MediaPost

Google Offers Olive Branch to Publishers by Relaxing Policy on Subscription Sites
According to The Wall Street Journal - but not yet confirmed by Google - Google is ending their ‘First Click Free’ policy on paywall gated articles through SERPs. This could reportedly help publishers boost subscriptions. The Wall Street Journal

Google Search App to Suggest Related Content
Content creators rejoice! Google is reportedly now showing related content in Google searches based on what content other searchers have viewed based on their related searches. Search Engine Journal

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We'll be back next week with more top news! Need more in the meantime? Follow @toprank for daily updates.

The post Digital Marketing News: Predictive Analytics, Blockchain and Email Marketing Industry Report appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Predictive Analytics: Predicting Customer Behavior to Improve ROI As marketers, we’re always trying to stay ahead of the curve. But, does that curve factor in what customers or clients are looking for? This infographic shows us how predictive analytics can help do just that. Business 2 Community IAB sets up Blockchain Working Group for advertising Does blockchain have a place in marketing? According to recent reports, blockchain is no longer only for those trading bitcoin, it can provide a highly secure and transparent way to manage funds. MarketingLand 2017 Email Marketing Industry Report Marketers are feeling overwhelmed. They don’t have the resources needed to do the marketing they’d like to do. This is evident in email marketing particularly because many marketers surveyed say email marketing drives ROI but it’s not integrated with their marketing strategy overall. Digital Marketing Depot [REPORT] The State of Social Video 2017: Marketing in a Video-First World “According to Cisco, video will make up 80% of consumer online traffic by 2020, and Mark Zuckerberg said he sees video ‘as a mega trend on the same order as mobile.’ Animoto set out to shed light on the video-first landscape.” Animoto Apple’s New Animojis Are the Latest Sign That Brands Need to Embrace Augmented Reality Tailing on the news of the release of Apple’s new iPhones, there is an exciting new development. What happens when you mix artificial intelligence and a leading technology company? You get, animojis! Apple’s version of the Snapchat’s Lens, this feature enables brands to connect with younger audiences in a meaningful way. AdWeek Email Marketing To Total $22.2 Billion In 2025: Study MediaPost reports: “The total dollar volume of email marketing will hit roughly $22.2 billion by the end of 2025, for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.60%, according to a study by Transparency Market Research. Last year, the annual total was U.S. $4.5 billion.” MediaPost Google Offers Olive Branch to Publishers by Relaxing Policy on Subscription Sites According to The Wall Street Journal - but not yet confirmed by Google - Google is ending their ‘First Click Free’ policy on paywall gated articles through SERPs. This could reportedly help publishers boost subscriptions. The Wall Street Journal Google Search App to Suggest Related Content Content creators rejoice! Google is reportedly now showing related content in Google searches based on what content other searchers have viewed based on their related searches. Search Engine Journal What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We'll be back next week with more top news! Need more in the meantime? Follow @toprank for daily updates.

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Digital Marketing News: Better Text Ads, Lifestyle Templates & AMP for AdWords http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/digital-marketing-news-091517/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/digital-marketing-news-091517/#respond Fri, 15 Sep 2017 10:30:20 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22940

Seven Tips for Writing Better-Performing Expanded Text Ads [Infographic]
Writing text ads is a challenge - how can you be compelling enough to drive a conversion with such limited space? There are several tricks of the trade explored in this new infographic. MarketingProfs

Google to Advertisers: Get Your Mobile Landing Pages Ready
Google recently announced that in two weeks, AdWords advertisers can use AMP pages as landing pages for their ads. This provides a seamless user experience when searching through Google and could have implications for page rank. Search Engine Journal

The print catalog era is over -- but Facebook wants to revive it on your iPhone
Do you miss the good old days of ordering from a catalog? Not many do. However, the lifestyle inspiration we all get from magazines is something that we haven't been able to replicate as well with our digital ads. Facebook is trying to close that gap with their new 'Lifestyle Templates'. Business Insider

Amazon Is Opening Up Its Ads Business, and Marketers See a Big Opportunity to Shake Up Search
According to AdWeek, "After testing search-based ads with agencies and brands, Kenshoo (a company that helps marketers manage search spend across platforms) is making Amazon ads readily available to all marketers through an API integration today." AdWeek

Instagram Expands Access to Branded Content Tools
After months of testing, Instagram has granted access to advertisers to its Branded Content tools. These will allow advertisers simplify the process for working with creators (and vice versa). Social Media Today

Google responds to Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention with AdWords tracking update
The news of Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari has upset the advertising industry - but as usual, we have Google to the rescue. According to Search Engine Land, "Google has developed a new Google Analytics cookie that will be used to capture campaign and conversion data from Safari in a way that conforms with ITP." Search Engine Land

Amazon ‘1-Click’ patent expires today, get ready for faster web-wide checkout
Amazon's patent on '1-Click' checkout has expired - this means that eCommerce platforms can now duplicate this functionality on their own sites. This is expected to reduce cart abandonment for shopping sites and make a more convenient user experience. Marketing Land

73% Of Broadband Consumers Want To Tightly Control Their Personal Data
According to MediaPost: "A large majority (73%) of U.S. broadband consumers express a desire to keep tight control over access to their personal data, with nearly half being very concerned that someone will access the data without their permission, according to a new report by Parks Associates." MediaPost

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We'll come back next week with more top digital marketing news. Have something to share? Email the newsroom or Tweet to @toprank.

The post Digital Marketing News: Better Text Ads, Lifestyle Templates & AMP for AdWords appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Seven Tips for Writing Better-Performing Expanded Text Ads [Infographic] Writing text ads is a challenge - how can you be compelling enough to drive a conversion with such limited space? There are several tricks of the trade explored in this new infographic. MarketingProfs Google to Advertisers: Get Your Mobile Landing Pages Ready Google recently announced that in two weeks, AdWords advertisers can use AMP pages as landing pages for their ads. This provides a seamless user experience when searching through Google and could have implications for page rank. Search Engine Journal The print catalog era is over -- but Facebook wants to revive it on your iPhone Do you miss the good old days of ordering from a catalog? Not many do. However, the lifestyle inspiration we all get from magazines is something that we haven't been able to replicate as well with our digital ads. Facebook is trying to close that gap with their new 'Lifestyle Templates'. Business Insider Amazon Is Opening Up Its Ads Business, and Marketers See a Big Opportunity to Shake Up Search According to AdWeek, "After testing search-based ads with agencies and brands, Kenshoo (a company that helps marketers manage search spend across platforms) is making Amazon ads readily available to all marketers through an API integration today." AdWeek Instagram Expands Access to Branded Content Tools After months of testing, Instagram has granted access to advertisers to its Branded Content tools. These will allow advertisers simplify the process for working with creators (and vice versa). Social Media Today Google responds to Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention with AdWords tracking update The news of Apple's Intelligent Tracking Prevention in Safari has upset the advertising industry - but as usual, we have Google to the rescue. According to Search Engine Land, "Google has developed a new Google Analytics cookie that will be used to capture campaign and conversion data from Safari in a way that conforms with ITP." Search Engine Land Amazon ‘1-Click’ patent expires today, get ready for faster web-wide checkout Amazon's patent on '1-Click' checkout has expired - this means that eCommerce platforms can now duplicate this functionality on their own sites. This is expected to reduce cart abandonment for shopping sites and make a more convenient user experience. Marketing Land 73% Of Broadband Consumers Want To Tightly Control Their Personal Data According to MediaPost: "A large majority (73%) of U.S. broadband consumers express a desire to keep tight control over access to their personal data, with nearly half being very concerned that someone will access the data without their permission, according to a new report by Parks Associates." MediaPost What were your top digital marketing news stories this week? We'll come back next week with more top digital marketing news. Have something to share? Email the newsroom or Tweet to @toprank.

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How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/data-compelling-reporting/ http://www.toprankblog.com/2017/09/data-compelling-reporting/#respond Tue, 12 Sep 2017 15:00:24 +0000 http://www.toprankblog.com/?p=22923 Google Analytics Data Visualization Adam Singer

Our hyper-connected digital world is defined by an overabundance of data. Everything’s measurable, trackable, and quantifiable. Want to know how many people died on screen in your favorite movie? Or how much ice cream the average American eats per year? The data’s at your fingertips.

The ready availability of data is great for marketers. It helps us optimize performance, personalize content, and prove our value to the business.

But data in a vacuum isn’t informative or useful. It’s not about the facts and figures themselves; it’s about how we shape that data into compelling stories.

As an Analytics Advocate at Google, Adam Singer has years of experience finding and revealing the meaningful narrative in datasets. His presentation at Content Marketing World 2017 was all about how to create clean, informative, compelling data visualizations.

Here’s a quick visual summary of his entire presentation, courtesy of Kingman Ink:

My favorite part is the lizard that represents your limbic brain. Visuals cut straight to that reflexive part of your brain, making a point quicker than listing facts and drawing conclusions.

Here’s how Adam suggests creating data-based visuals that speak directly to our inner lizards.

#1:  Prepare Data for Analysis

Great data visualization starts with...well...data. More than that, it starts with a meaningful and manageable data set. The data you choose to include should be tailored to both the story you want to tell and the audience that’s going to receive it. For an example, when pulling internal data, your CEO might just want to know whether marketing is contributing to revenue. By contrast, your CMO will want revenue, engagement, and sales enablement data.

Adam recommends these three steps for data analysis:

  1. Filtering: Make sure you’re getting high quality data. For example, in your website analytics, exclude bot and spam traffic from your traffic reports.
  2. Sorting: Use the sorting that makes the most business sense. In most cases, a combined and weighted sort will be the most useful, organizing data along two variables.
  3. Grouping: In Google Analytics, you can group data into categories. This can help you create more specific, focused visualizations.

#2: Tell Your Data Story

With the data in hand, you can create a visualization. Aim to create an image so simple, specific, and clean that it’s readable at a glance. In other words, the opposite of this: 

Notice how your eyes flick back and forth between the legend and the chart, trying to make sense of it all. Compare that chart to this one:

There’s a mountain of data behind that visualization, but you can instantly grasp the point: vaccines eliminate diseases.

Such a stunning visual doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning. Adam recommends “storyboarding” your visualizations before you even pull the data in. Nail down who you’re talking to, what questions you’re answering, and the story you’re telling before you create a single chart.

#3: Best Practices for Compelling Data Reporting

As with any kind of storytelling, the best way to visualize your data depends on your audience and your story. But there are some consistent best practices to follow. Adam recommends following these guidelines for visualizations in your internal reporting, regardless of audience or intent:

  1. Keep charts and graphs simple. Don’t graph every data point--just enough to show the trend. Focus on what matters most to your story.
  2. Tell the user what the point is. Your audience shouldn’t have to guess at the conclusion you want them to draw: Put it right in the title of your visualization.
  3. Don’t spin the data. Ever. The point of data visualization is to get at the facts, not obscure them. Don’t abuse your audience’s trust with misleading visuals.
  4. Make reporting part of your process. It’s easy to think of reporting as something tacked on to the end of a campaign, a final housekeeping task. Better to see reporting as vital to our ongoing marketing efforts and approach it with dedication and enthusiasm.
  5. Use the right data for the right stakeholder. Make sure you personalize your reports for different audiences, sticking with only the most relevant data for each.
  6. Be creative and have fun. Solutions like Google Data Studio make it easy to pull in data and play with visualizations. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Data Points

When done properly, a single chart or graph can convey paragraphs of information at a single glance. Choose your data carefully, keep your visualizations simple and purposeful, and you can create a report far more compelling than a list of stats and figures could ever be.

Speaking of beautiful data visualization, have you seen our interactive influencer marketing infographic?

 

The post How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Google Analytics Data Visualization Adam Singer

Our hyper-connected digital world is defined by an overabundance of data. Everything’s measurable, trackable, and quantifiable. Want to know how many people died on screen in your favorite movie? Or how much ice cream the average American eats per year? The data’s at your fingertips. The ready availability of data is great for marketers. It helps us optimize performance, personalize content, and prove our value to the business. But data in a vacuum isn’t informative or useful. It’s not about the facts and figures themselves; it’s about how we shape that data into compelling stories. As an Analytics Advocate at Google, Adam Singer has years of experience finding and revealing the meaningful narrative in datasets. His presentation at Content Marketing World 2017 was all about how to create clean, informative, compelling data visualizations. Here’s a quick visual summary of his entire presentation, courtesy of Kingman Ink: My favorite part is the lizard that represents your limbic brain. Visuals cut straight to that reflexive part of your brain, making a point quicker than listing facts and drawing conclusions. Here’s how Adam suggests creating data-based visuals that speak directly to our inner lizards.

#1:  Prepare Data for Analysis

Great data visualization starts with...well...data. More than that, it starts with a meaningful and manageable data set. The data you choose to include should be tailored to both the story you want to tell and the audience that’s going to receive it. For an example, when pulling internal data, your CEO might just want to know whether marketing is contributing to revenue. By contrast, your CMO will want revenue, engagement, and sales enablement data. Adam recommends these three steps for data analysis:
  1. Filtering: Make sure you’re getting high quality data. For example, in your website analytics, exclude bot and spam traffic from your traffic reports.
  2. Sorting: Use the sorting that makes the most business sense. In most cases, a combined and weighted sort will be the most useful, organizing data along two variables.
  3. Grouping: In Google Analytics, you can group data into categories. This can help you create more specific, focused visualizations.

#2: Tell Your Data Story

With the data in hand, you can create a visualization. Aim to create an image so simple, specific, and clean that it’s readable at a glance. In other words, the opposite of this:  Notice how your eyes flick back and forth between the legend and the chart, trying to make sense of it all. Compare that chart to this one: There’s a mountain of data behind that visualization, but you can instantly grasp the point: vaccines eliminate diseases. Such a stunning visual doesn’t happen by accident. It takes careful planning. Adam recommends “storyboarding” your visualizations before you even pull the data in. Nail down who you’re talking to, what questions you’re answering, and the story you’re telling before you create a single chart.

#3: Best Practices for Compelling Data Reporting

As with any kind of storytelling, the best way to visualize your data depends on your audience and your story. But there are some consistent best practices to follow. Adam recommends following these guidelines for visualizations in your internal reporting, regardless of audience or intent:
  1. Keep charts and graphs simple. Don’t graph every data point--just enough to show the trend. Focus on what matters most to your story.
  2. Tell the user what the point is. Your audience shouldn’t have to guess at the conclusion you want them to draw: Put it right in the title of your visualization.
  3. Don’t spin the data. Ever. The point of data visualization is to get at the facts, not obscure them. Don’t abuse your audience’s trust with misleading visuals.
  4. Make reporting part of your process. It’s easy to think of reporting as something tacked on to the end of a campaign, a final housekeeping task. Better to see reporting as vital to our ongoing marketing efforts and approach it with dedication and enthusiasm.
  5. Use the right data for the right stakeholder. Make sure you personalize your reports for different audiences, sticking with only the most relevant data for each.
  6. Be creative and have fun. Solutions like Google Data Studio make it easy to pull in data and play with visualizations. Don’t be afraid to experiment!

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Data Points

When done properly, a single chart or graph can convey paragraphs of information at a single glance. Choose your data carefully, keep your visualizations simple and purposeful, and you can create a report far more compelling than a list of stats and figures could ever be. Speaking of beautiful data visualization, have you seen our interactive influencer marketing infographic?  

The post How to Find the Stories in Your Data for Compelling Reporting appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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