Top Marketing News: Facebook Tests ‘Downvotes,’ Internet Rages at Google, Pandora Takes Aim

Six Essential Email Marketing Tips [Infographic]
Looking for email marketing success? This six tips can help you — and your emails — reach the right target. MarketingProfs

Google Brings the Popular Stories Format to AMP: Is It Worth Using?
Google announced a new story format for AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) this week. Google describes the new shiny thing as “a visual driven format for evolving news consumption on mobile.” Econsultancy

Internet Rages After Google Removes ‘View Image’ Button, Bowing to Getty
Google removed the “view image” button this week in response to a recent lawsuit from Getty. This move has enraged the internet, but was done with hopes to encourage clicks through to the image’s hosting website. Ars Technica

45% Of Marketers Cite Content & Experience Management As Top Priority In 2018
Econsultancy’s Digital Trends 2018 report found that 45% of professionals surveyed cite content and experience management as their top priorities for this year, followed by the 32% that cited analytics. Econsultancy

Top Digital Advertising Trends
MediaPost compiled a research brief to show top digital advertising trends, including evidence that Google and Facebook owned 63% US digital market in 2017. Microsoft made strides, but remains a distant third place with just 4%. MediaPost

Google Announces Two Major Changes to Image Search
Google has announced two major changes to image search — including the previously reported removal of the “view image” button and the removal of the “search by image” button. Publishers are happy about these changes, Google search users aren’t so thrilled. Search Engine Journal

Pandora Takes Aim At Spotify And IHeartRadio With Programmatic Audio Ads
AdAge reports: “Pandora said Tuesday that it will now offer its audio inventory programmatically through popular demand-side platforms such as MediaMath, The Trade Desk and AdsWizz.” AdAge

Snapchat Gives Creators Access to Audience Analytics
Some select content creators on Snapchat are being given access to analytics and data about their audience, such as story views, engagement and demographics. This is only available to those who are part of Snapchat’s Official Stories program. Search Engine Journal

B2B Demand Generation: Marketers’ Favorite Tactics
Recent research from Demand Gen Report shows that email remains a top demand generation channel for both top and bottom funnel prospects. MarketingProfs

Facebook Is Testing A ‘Downvote’ Button
CNBC Reports: “Facebook is testing a ‘downvote’ button that lets users flag and hide comments they deem inappropriate. The social network clarified that it is not a ‘dislike’ button and the test is running for a small set of people in the U.S. only.” CNBC

Google To Move More Sites To Mobile-First Index In Coming Weeks
Google plans on rolling more sites into the mobile-first index in the next several weeks. It’s time to make sure your site is optimized for mobile if you haven’t already — the time has finally come. Search Engine Land

On the Lighter Side
Red Stripe Says That, Whatever the Cost, It Will Buy a New Bobsled for Jamaica – AdWeek

TopRank Marketing (And Clients) In the News:

Steve Slater – Your M-Commerce Deep Dive: Data, Trends and What’s Next in the Mobile Retail Revenue World – Big Commerce
Lee Odden – Better Than Bonuses: 4 Motivators That Matter More Than Money – Workfront

We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news! If you need more in the meantime, follow @toprank on Twitter or subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Top Marketing News: Facebook Tests ‘Downvotes,’ Internet Rages at Google, Pandora Takes Aim was posted via Internet Marketing

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In a World of Diminishing Trust, Data-Driven Marketers Can Turn the Tide

Trusting Hands

Trusting HandsMy first encounter with marketing data malpractice came at a young age. I wasn’t old enough to understand what was going on at the time, but my dad loves to tell the story. As I’ve gotten older, the humor and timeless relevance of this anecdote have struck me more and more.

It was the mid-90s. We received a piece of mail at our house addressed to Lucy Nelson. It was a credit card offer from one of the industry’s heavy hitters. Nothing out of the norm so far, right?

Here’s the problem: Lucy was no longer alive.

And the bigger problem: Lucy was not a human. She was our dog.

As it turns out, my older brother had been cited by an officer at a nearby park many years earlier for walking Lucy without a leash. When asked to give a name, he stuttered out the Golden Retriever’s, along with our family surname. Somehow “Lucy Nelson” ended up in a city database and the credit card company had plucked it out to add to its mailing list. Ultimately, this resulted in our dearly departed dog being pitched a deluxe platinum card.

Woof.

Flash-forward 20-some years. It’s a different world now. The rudimentary practice of collecting names and addresses from public databases seems so quaint in the Age of Big Data. Businesses and institutions now have the ability to gather comprehensive insights about people, both in aggregate and at an individual level.

For the general populace, this can feel unnerving. And unfortunately, almost everyone reading this has experienced some breach of trust when it comes to corporations or government and personal data.

But for marketers, the sheer volume of information now readily available presents a significant opportunity to take our profession to all new heights. By getting it right, we can help stem the tide of rising consumer wariness.

A World of Distrust

In 2017, for the first time since being introduced almost two decades ago, the Edelman Trust Barometer found a decline in consumer trust toward business, media, government, and NGOs to “do what is right.” That’s bad. And even worse: the organization’s Trust Index didn’t rebound in the 2018 study, released in January.

2018 Edelman Trust Barometer“A World of Distrust,” Edelman has dubbed it in 2018. And who can blame folks for losing faith? These days it can feel like the only major news story that isn’t shrouded in doubt is when Equifax leaks the personal information of 150 million people.

In such an environment, it’s hard to not to squirm when learning that your Amazon Alexa, and even your smartphone, is listening to you pretty much at all times.

While apprehension is understandable, these aren’t people spying on us; they are robotic algorithms collecting data in efforts to understand us and better serve us.

As marketers, we can play a major role in showing people the benefits of a data-focused marketplace. Customers rightfully have high expectations of our ability to offer high-quality tailored experiences, and we need to follow through. It’s an historic opportunity.

[bctt tweet=”As marketers, we can play a major role in showing people the benefits of a data-focused marketplace. – @NickNelsonMN #CX #DataDrivenMarketing” username=”toprank”]

Connecting the Dots

Our CEO Lee Odden recently wrote this in a blog about data creating better customer experiences: “One of the universal truths that we’ve operated under at TopRank Marketing,” he explained. “Is about the power of information specific to customers that are actively searching for solutions.”

In that post, Lee wrote about his experience searching online for a portable battery charger and then being served ads for purple mattresses. That’s the kind of thing that drives me crazy. As Lee notes: “The data is there. Customers are telling you what they want. The question is, how to connect those dots of data to understand and optimize customer experiences?”

The consequences of missing the mark are very real. A few years ago LoyaltyOne conducted a survey of 2,000 U.S. and Canadian customers on the subjects of data collection and privacy. Among the findings: only 35% were accepting of retailers using cookies to track their online behavior and just 27% were cool with location-based offers.

How much less widespread resistance might we be seeing against these tactics if they were being utilized more effectively?  

[bctt tweet=”The data is there. Customers are telling you what they want. The question is, how to connect those dots of data to understand & optimize customer experiences? – @leeodden #CX #DataDrivenMarketing” username=”toprank”]

The Data-Driven Marketer’s Imperative

The stakes are high. We need to piece the puzzle together correctly. If marketers and advertisers can start consistently delivering the sort of customized content and recommendations that data empower us to provide, it’ll go a long way toward restoring customer faith.

We should be using this information to optimize, not traumatize!

Among the biggest areas for improvement I can see, from the perspective of both a marketer and customer:

  • Cut down on data fragmentation and organizational silos. This issue is abundantly common and extremely damaging. The “garbage in, garbage out” adage will never cease to be true. Make the necessary investments to unify your data and enhance the customer journey from attract to engage to convert and every step in between.
  • Be more transparent. Location-based tracking and other oft-used practices would be much less irksome if they didn’t feel so sneaky. Inform customers when you’re gathering info and why. Commit to opt-in policies wherever possible.
  • Follow the principles of the “virtuous cycle.” LoyaltyOne CEO Bryan Pearson suggests that building trust is tantamount to developing face-to-face relationships. “In the beginning, we share a little. Then, once we show that we can be responsible with what the customer has shared, he or she will reveal a little more. And gradually the relationship deepens. This crawl-walk-run approach to sharing information is a sensible way for us to proceed in data collection and use. After all, as long as customer information is used to enhance the customer experience, taking small steps along the way can lead to big things.”

Data has come a long way since the days of sending credit card offers to dead dogs. Marketers, let’s make sure every campaign we create is reflecting this progress.

[bctt tweet=”We should be using the data & information we have to optimize, not traumatize. – @NickNelsonMN #DataDrivenMarketing #CX” username=”toprank”]

How can you build more trust with your audience? A more thoughtful approach to content marketing can help. Learn several ways to build credibility and trust with content.

In a World of Diminishing Trust, Data-Driven Marketers Can Turn the Tide was posted via Internet Marketing

Common Pitfalls of E-Commerce SEO: Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is one of the most common SEO pitfalls that many e-commerce sites struggle with.  And with the growth of a business riding partially on organic success, both regular assessment and proactive SEO work are imperative to give the business its best chance to succeed.

Having spent a few years working for a solely-online retailer, I noticed a few trends in locations where duplicate content issues consistently popped up on our site and those of competitors. Knowing what to keep an eye on can save a lot of time and troubleshooting down the road – so here are some of the repeat offenders to look out for and how to fix them.

Problem Area: Across Categories

The most blatant form of duplicate content on an e-commerce site is at the category level. This happens if multiple categories target the exact same type of product (for example, “Men’s Boots” and “Boots for Men”). This can happen for a variety of well-intended reasons such as wanting to present the category within two different parent categories, trying to appeal to different markets, or even in the name of targeting keywords for SEO.

However, regardless of intent, if the pages are targeting the same topic, Google will not have a clear picture of which page takes priority and will likely not serve either of these pages to users above sites that offer clear structure.

Solution

There are a couple of courses of action that can be taken on this issue depending on whether you are working in more of a preventative or reactive capacity.

If you are lucky enough to be involved in a process before duplicate categories are added, education is the best strategy. Many merchandizers or product teams don’t realize that there is any issue with having multiple landing pages for a product type. Helping them understand what to avoid and why can help reduce the number of duplicates preemptively.

The reactive solution to this issue is to clean up the existing pages to more clearly indicate importance. To locate the most obviously problematic categories, start with a crawl and look for identical or highly similar H1s. Then, if possible, follow that up with a manual check through a list of all live categories, as some duplicate intent (such as with synonyms) would not be as straightforward to find via crawl data.

When searching for duplicate categories on a site, remember that Google also uses on-page content to interpret page intent. So product selection within categories also needs to be considered, as the bulk of the content on most category pages comes from the product titles. Some e-commerce CMSs have a view that allows you to see which products are dual categorized and where; this can be very helpful for locating this particular type of duplicate content.

Once you’ve found the categories, the best course of action is to 301 redirect all but one of the overlapping categories to the one that you have determined to be most valuable (via rankings/traffic/sales/user experience). Alternately, if removing pages isn’t possible (like if they are being used for marketing purposes), you could add noindex tags to the duplicate pages or have them canonical back to the primary page.  I would recommend putting a noindex, nofollow tag on a page that is not linked to from the site, such as a stand-alone landing page for an email, and using canonical tags for pages that live within the site’s navigable structure.

For example, if I found these categories and determined that they all contain mostly the same products:

I would then identify what each page is for, where it is linked from,  and determine the action to take based on those factors:

Problem Area: Filters or Filter Combinations

Even if categories are targeting different product types you can still end up with identical targeting on certain pages when filters are applied. Of course, this issue will only be a significant problem if the filtered pages have unique URLs and are indexable.

To give an example, the site below sells many types of throw pillows, some of which are specific to indoor or outdoor use, and some of which are multi-use.  They have separate categories for “Decorative + Throw Pillows” and “Outdoor Pillows,” which are located in respective /outdoor/ and /decor-pillows/ sections of their site.

At this point these categories are fine. While there may be a bit of overlap in intent, users and Google can both understand how they are differentiated.

However, duplicate content becomes an issue once filters are applied to these categories. Because “Outdoor Pillows” is such a broad term, this category includes a type filter for “Throw Pillow”: 

And since some of the “Decorative + Throw Pillows” are multi-use, that category features one for “Outdoor”:


So now we have two self-canonicalized unique URLs targeting the exact same type of item (and even returning the same specific products).

This example is relatively straightforward, but given the limitless possibilities that some sites have for filter combinations, duplicate content from filters can quickly get out of hand if unaddressed.

Solution

Much like the cross-category duplicate content issue, the preventative solution to this one lies largely with education and process. If merchandising teams know:

  1. That duplicate content is a thing
  2. That it’s a problem
  3. What to look at before creating a filter

Then they can keep these issues from existing in the first place. It may also be helpful to keep lists of similar categories or commonly overlapping filters to check before adding new filters – On sites I’ve worked on in the past, we consistently saw issues in overlap between filters in indoor and outdoor furnishings as well as between furnishing categories for general consumer and commercial clients.

If these filtered duplicates already exist, the solution is to remove them and 301 redirect the URLs to the page that takes precedence. Depending on what the filter was, it may be better to redirect them to one or the other of the parent category pages. However, before you remove anything, be sure to take a peek at any existing rankings or organic traffic that a page may be getting so that you consider any existing value before making a final decision on which to axe.

Problem Area: Product Descriptions

Every product page needs text on it to explain features and product details and add an element of branding. To meet this need, many e-commerce sites will use an unedited description directly from the manufacturer.

While there are obvious reasons behind this practice, including the implied accuracy of the initial description and efficiency of onboarding processes, this is a big problem when it comes to differentiating your site in the SERPs.

Because the manufacturer sends the same information to all brands that it sells through, this leads to many sites having identical text on their product pages. Even big brands are guilty of this. For example, the product description for a specific bookcase is identical to:

Home Depot

Overstock

Amazon

If you are using identical content to compete with a more prominent brand in the SERPs, both Google and users are likely going to prioritize the site with more brand authority.

Another instance where duplicate product descriptions become an issue is when a brand expands the number of platforms they sell through. For example, if an independent company initially sells through their own site, but then decides to list their products on Amazon as well. If this company uses the same descriptions on both sites, it can result in the brand losing the top place in the SERP for their own product, as Amazon has such a high domain authority.

Solution

Unique content is the solution to this problem. High effort though it may be, there is no substitute. This can be from internal teams that have writing skills, or it can be outsourced – different solutions work better for different organizations. The important part is ensuring that the content you are creating is both high quality (proper grammar, no misspellings, etc.) and unique to your site.

Problem Area: Title Tags

Duplicate title tags are an extremely widespread problem across the web in general. When SEO teams say “we need title tags on every page,” often developer teams will find the quickest and easiest solution to this problem: rolling out a standard tag across all pages.

However, title tags are supposed to help both users and Google to understand what a page is about at a high level. And clearly, identical tags on every page help no one identify topics.

Solution

The solution that many come to on this issue is algorithmically generating title tags based on the page’s H1.  If this is feasible, it can be a great way to achieve SEO goals efficiently. However, in most organizations this will require developer resources to accomplish, which can be a significant constraint.

However, if your CMS is configured in such a way that it will accept a bulk upload of meta-data values, this can even be accomplished without dev dependencies by using Excel. If you use Screaming Frog to pull a list of URLs and their corresponding H1s, you can create a template design that will integrate the H1 text.

For example, If I wanted to make title tags that read “Shop *Product Type* | Example Site” I could create the following layout in Excel:

Then, I would use the CONCATENATE function to automatically generate text for all the title tags by inserting the H1 after “Shop” and putting “| Example Site” at the end as shown below.

Apply the formula to the column, and you have a list of unique title tags and their associated URLs:

Problem Area: Blog Posts or Resource Section

Most e-commerce sites these days feature some inspirational or informational content in the form of a blog or resource section. While this can be a great asset, it can also be a bit of a minefield for duplicate content.

Poor quality outsourcing, internal content producers who don’t understand the significance of creative integrity, or even just individuals who don’t know how to cite or refer to a source appropriately can end up producing content that is duplicative of another website’s.

Even if you invest in quality unique content for your site, sometimes it can be “borrowed,” overly quoted, or just straight copied by other sites. And if the site that does this has higher domain authority, the content can be beaten by itself in the SERPs.

Solution

Depending on when you are coming into the content creation process, the first step could be an initial audit of existing content to see if any is duplicate. While much of this must be done more or less manually by doing a quick search for exact matches to sections of your content, there are some tools available that can speed the process up a bit (I like Copyscape). If you find content that is duplicate, assess the value of the topic to your site and the extent of duplication, then either remove or refresh the content piece.

If you are lucky enough to be in on the content creation process from the beginning, ensure that the writers know what duplicate content is, and both how and why it can be a detriment to the site.

Conclusion

While many of these recommendations sound relatively simple, I understand they can be much harder to execute in practice. But if you keep tabs on these specific areas, and work to educate teams and integrate SEO considerations into their processes, your site will be one step closer to organic success.

Common Pitfalls of E-Commerce SEO: Duplicate Content was posted via Internet Marketing

This Changes Everything: How AI Is Transforming Digital Marketing

How AI Is Transforming Digital Marketing

How AI Is Transforming Digital MarketingWill artificial intelligence (AI) put marketers out of work?

It’s a question I’m seeing a lot lately, and to me, it’s a strange one. It’s like if everyone 150 years ago was asking: “Will the tractor put farmers out of work?” Of course, John Deere didn’t put farmers out of business; better tools just made them more efficient and better able to scale.

Granted, the tractor did reduce the demand for horses and farmhands. So, no, AI will not put you out of work…as long as your work is creative, innovative and intelligent. If all of your daily work can be done by a machine, eventually it will be.

To be the farmer rather than the horse, you need to understand what AI can do to augment and scale your efforts, not replace them. Here’s what AI can do to improve your digital marketing efforts right now.

#1: Artificial Intelligence and SEO

If there’s one area of digital marketing that is most affected by AI right now, it’s SEO. Machine learning is directly affecting site visibility right now, and its influence will only increase in the future.

A machine learning algorithm called RankBrain (link to Backlinko’s incredibly useful guide) is currently Google’s third most important ranking signal. In the past, Google’s developers monitored search results and tweaked algorithms to better suit search needs. SEO experts then tried to reverse-engineer each algorithm change to better position their content.

With RankBrain in the driver’s seat, though, no human being will know why content is ranked up or down. The algorithm will continuously be testing and refining settings based on user behavior.

This switch means some traditional SEO activities, like keyword lists and backlinks, will decline in importance. The ranking signals that will matter most will be those related to user activity:

  • Time on page
  • Bounce rate
  • Pogo sticking
  • Scroll depth

Any indicator that shows how a user found your content valuable is now an SEO indicator. SEO experts and content creators will need to work more closely together to ensure content meets a specific search need, addresses a specific audience, and is compelling to read.

That’s not to say technical SEO is dead, but it is evolving. SEO experts should focus on structuring data, applying schema, implementing AMP, and optimizing for voice search. What do these tasks have in common? They’re all candidates for automation. SEO experts of the future will be feeding data into their own AI and using it to apply these ranking factors to content at scale.

[bctt tweet=”#SEO experts of the future will be feeding data into their own #AI & using it to apply ranking factors to content at scale. – @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

#2: Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots

Chatbots are AI-driven programs that interact with users in a natural-language environment. These programs are rapidly becoming a major area of interest for marketers, as an increasing amount of social media traffic takes place on private messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Buffer’s annual social media report found that there are more people on the top four messaging apps than on the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn). That’s an engagement opportunity that’s hard to ignore. And, of course, chatbots can live on your brand’s homepage, answering questions and providing support.

Most digital marketers see chatbots as a way to provide personalized customer service at scale – which is tangentially related to marketing, but not directly a marketing function. However, chatbots can also help guide users through a customer journey to a sale.

A lot of the chatter (no pun intended) around chatbots is how to make them indistinguishable from interacting with a human. Marketers seem to care a great deal about this issue, but I would argue customers don’t. Customers want their questions to be understood and quickly answered; it doesn’t matter if it’s Robby the Robot or Robby the Call Center Rep who has the answers.

Marketers can make use of chatbots themselves, too. There are a growing number of smart assistants available that can aggregate and report on data in real-time, through Slack and other private messaging services.

[bctt tweet=”Customers want their questions to be understood and quickly answered; it doesn’t matter if it’s Robby the Robot or Robby the Call Center Rep who has the answers. – @NiteWrites on #AI in #DigitalMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#3: Artificial Intelligence and Content Marketing

If you’re a content creator, talking about AI and content marketing likely makes you feel the cold fingers of obsolescence tighten around your throat. Gartner says by the end of the year, 20% of business content will be authored by machines. AI is already being used for everything from white papers to earning reports. It’s enough to make you feel like a horse watching the farmer start up his tractor.

Should you be worried about your job? Neigh. For one, AI right now isn’t quite ready to draft content with personality and a strong hook for the reader. Since SEO is increasingly about the reader’s experience, that means human-crafted content will win out for the foreseeable future. And even when AI can write convincingly like a human, it will still need creative input from humans.

So think like a farmer: Use AI to take care of repetitive, mindless tasks like metadata tagging and adding recommended content to blog posts. And use it to deliver personalized content at scale. AI can use data from your site’s visitors to dynamically customize and display the content you create.

As the content creator, part of your new AI-enhanced job will be to look at how your audience can be segmented by behavior, and draft modular content that the AI can put together based on user behavior.

[bctt tweet=”Marketers, think like a farmer: Use #AI to take care of repetitive, mindless tasks like metadata tagging & adding recommended content to blog posts. And use it to deliver personalized #content at scale. – @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

#4: Artificial Intelligence and Email Marketing

Email marketing remains one of the most effective forms of marketing out there. Sixty-one percent of consumers enjoy receiving weekly promotional emails. Which may explain why email marketing has higher conversion rates than social media and search combined.

AI is making email marketing even better, both for you and your customer. Personalization at scale is every marketer’s dream – and AI makes it possible. AI can use data to create personalized emails to every one of your subscribers, based on their previous interactions with the brand. It can customize based on what content they’ve consumed, what’s on their wish list, what pages they have spent the most time on, and more. For example, if one user always visits links to product pages in your email, but another skips those links and goes straight for content, the AI can send different messaging with the most relevant links for each user.

AI is also making drip campaigns more sophisticated. Instead of one or two triggers and a few customized emails, you can use “If/Then” statements to customize emails for dozens of different triggers. Rather than, “send an email in two weeks,” or “send another if they opened the last one,” you could say, “if they visited three product pages, send an email with a link to a related blog post and recommended products other people have purchased.”

[bctt tweet=”When it comes to #EmailMarketing, personalization at scale is every marketer’s dream & #AI makes it possible. – @NiteWrites” username=”toprank”]

#5: Artificial Intelligence Influencers to Follow

As AI continues to evolve, one thing’s for sure: None of us know as much about it as we should (myself included). These four influencers are among the select few who really have a handle on AI’s potential to transform marketing.

1. Chris Penn, VP of Marketing Technology, SHIFT Communications

Chris Penn of SHIIFT Communications

Chris is a futurist, a keynote speaker, and AI visionary. His presentation at Content Marketing World last year alternately energized and scared the pants off me.

Blog – LinkedIn – Twitter

2. Paul Roetzer, Founder, Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute (MAII)

Paul Roetzer of Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute

Through the MAII, Paul aims to do for AI what Joe Pulizzi did for content marketing: Provide resources to educate people on how to use AI in marketing, and develop the standards to make AI a useful strategic tool.

Blog – LinkedIn – Twitter

3. Magnus Unemyr, Marketing Automation & AI Consultant

Magnus Unemyr - Marketing Automation & AI Consultant

Magnus has turned out a ton of high-quality content on marketing automation and AI in the past few years. He publishes daily newsletters available through his blog and Twitter feed, and has written a series of books on e-commerce and online marketing.

Blog – LinkedIn – Twitter

I, for One, Welcome Our New Robot Overlords

Will AI put marketers out of a job? Not if you think like a farmer with a shiny new tractor. It’s a tool, not a replacement – a multi-use tool that will eliminate drudgework and help you reach your audience more easily and with more compelling, personalized content.

The rise of AI in marketing is one of the top trends in 2018. Find out what other digital marketing trends deserve your attention in 2018 and into the future.

This Changes Everything: How AI Is Transforming Digital Marketing was posted via Internet Marketing

Digital Marketing News: Alignment Challenges, Instagram’s ‘Collection’ & Amp for Email

The Top Three Reasons Sales and Marketing Alignment Is Off [Infographic]
Communication, broken processes and disconnected metrics are the top three reasons that sales and marketing alignment is off. Is it an issue of focus, priorities, or something else? MarketingProfs

Instagram Gives Brands New Way to Sell In ‘Collection’ Ads
Instagram launched “collection” ads, which allow users to shop and purchase directly through the Instagram platform. AdAge

Google Announces Amp For Email – Delivering Accelerated Mobile Pages Experiences To Your Inbox
The new spec is available today through the Gmail Developer Preview, with support in Gmail slated for later this year. MarketingLand

Instagram Tests Its Version Of The Retweet But Thru Stories
Instagram has begun testing a new feature that would allow users to share public posts from other profiles to their own followers through the Stories feature. MarketingLand

Nielsen Creates New Metric to Measure the Effectiveness of Product Integrations
Nielsen is launching a new metric that may help marketers and publishers standardize brand mentions across platforms, like TV, short-form video and subscription-video-on-demand services. AdWeek

Google Launches New Look For ‘People Also Search For’ Search Refinements
Go to a search result, click on a listing, and then click back to the search results page on Google to trigger this on Google desktop search. Search Engine Land

Breaking Up With Facebook: Users Confess They’re Spending Less Time
Mark Zuckerberg says recent changes have reduced the amount of time users spend on Facebook by 50 million hours each day, but those changes aren’t the only reasons, according to users. USA Today

How Facebook Is Changing the Way It Reports Organic Reach for Page Posts
A redesign of Page Insights began rolling out this week for iOS and Android, along with a more accurate way for page admins to determine the effectiveness of their organic posts. AdWeek

New Research: Account-Based Marketing Trends: Top Channels, Priorities, and Challenges
New research indicates that the top challenges and priorities for account based marketing are the same – aligning sales and marketing, attributing marketing efforts to revenue and scoring and targeting ideal accounts. MarketingProfs

Snapchat Is Opening Up Its Marketing Platform to All Ad-Tech Players and Agencies
Snapchat is opening up their API to allow companies more access to their ad buying platform, and potentially more data. AdWeek

Google Sets Deadline for HTTPS and Warns Publishers to Upgrade Soon
If you haven’t made the switch on your site from http to https, it’s time to get started. Google has set a deadline of July 2018, after which Chrome will begin warning users explicitly if a site is insecure. Search Engine Journal

Statistics on Personalized Content

On the Lighter Side:
Google Launches 2018 Winter Olympics Features Across Search ResultsSearch Engine Journal
McDonald’s Absurdly Lavish ‘Bling Mac’ Ring Could Be Yours, If You Love It EnoughAdWeek
Over 150 New Emojis to Be Released on iPhone and Android This YearIndependent

TopRank Marketing (And Clients) In the News:
Rachel Miller & Lee Odden – Top 100 Social Media and Marketing Influencers – Digital Scouting
Lee Odden –  37 Digital Marketing Conference Speakers Who Will Inspire Your Marketing Programs – Outbrain
Lee Odden – Who Were The Top CMO Influencers Of 2017?  – Forbes
Lee Odden – 16 Digital Rockstars you Need to Follow – neilmchugh

We’ll be back next week with more digital marketing news! In the meantime, quench your digital marketing thirst by checking out TopRank Marketing on YouTube and Twitter!

Digital Marketing News: Alignment Challenges, Instagram’s ‘Collection’ & Amp for Email was posted via Internet Marketing

5 Productivity Hacks to Bring Content Creation From Failing to Flying High

Hot Air Balloons

Hot Air BalloonsLet’s just get this out of the way: I don’t know anything about hacking. I’ve never hacked anything in my life, unless you’re describing my golf swing, or you count using a Game Genie to cheat at Sega Genesis back in the early ‘90s.

In general, I find terms like “life hacks” and “growth hacking” to be… well, hackneyed.

But you know what? Blog titles that include “hacks” — or other strong and compelling descriptors such as “surprising” or “critical” — have a greater tendency to gain viral traction. Sometimes a simple data point like that can be the springboard you need to uncover inspiration.

Which brings us to the purpose of today’s post.

Here at TopRank Marketing, we have an insanely talented Content Team. Legitimately some of the best writers and strategic thinkers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working alongside. But even these awesome pros are not immune to the occasional creative rut or swoon in productivity. It comes with the territory.

Recently the team came together to discuss some of our personal methods for overcoming content creation slumps and getting back on track when we’re dragging. I figured I would share some of the most salient pointers to come out of that meeting here, so other marketers can benefit and maybe adopt a few of them during their own periods of stagnation.

Hacks, insider tips, pearls of eternal wisdom — whatever attention-grabbing name you’d like to apply, I just hope you find these practical tips helpful in enhancing your productivity and elevating your content marketing success. (And feel free to comment with your own if you have tricks that work for you.)

#1 – Embrace the 5-Second Rule

The 5-Second Rule Book CoverLast year, Mel Robbins published a book called “The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage.” The premise behind this guide to conquering self-doubt and procrastination is rooted in psychology.

Basically, the crux is that because our brains are wired to avoid risk, we are innately predisposed to abandon many ideas and plans almost as quickly as they arrive.

Robbins challenges us to overcome this inclination by forcing ourselves to take some sort of action to move an idea forward within five seconds of the thought crossing our consciousness. It can be small and it doesn’t always have to lead anywhere. But it’s all about getting past your initial misgivings and, in some way, turning an idea from concept into reality.

So, next time the notion of a blog angle passes through your head, take the step to jot down a note, or even a loose outline. When you’re struck with the spark for a content campaign, but not quite sure about it, discuss it with a colleague or at least record a quick voice memo on your phone.

Basically, stop saying “later” and start saying “now.” By following this approach, you’ll find yourself with a whole lot more to work with, and it might just be that a passing fancy you’d have otherwise pushed out of mind turns into something great.

[bctt tweet=”Stop saying “later” and start saying “now” when an idea crosses your mind. – @NickNelsonMN #ContentCreation #ContentMarketing” username=”toprank”]

#2 – Start with Your Conclusion

A classic writing tip from fledgling novelists is to draft the ending of a story first, and then work your way up to it. This same advice can be aptly applied to any content writer who is struggling to get a piece off the ground.

When I’m sitting down to write something new, I frequently find that getting started is the toughest part. You need a strong, compelling introduction, and in many cases can’t proceed until you’ve got one worked out. Another issue can be that once you’ve surpassed that initial hurdle, you start wandering and get sidetracked from the main points you’re trying to make.

Writing your conclusion before anything else can remedy both of these issues. Since it’s always smart to have the beginning and ending of a post tie together, you might find the pathway to your intro by taking this approach. And as you progress through the drafting process, you’ll always know exactly what the end destination is.

#3 – Keep a List of Recent, Authoritative Statistics

Sometimes, statistics can provide the backing we need to substantiate a point. But finding the right one isn’t always a quick or easy task. Getting bogged down in research is often one of the primary culprits in waning productivity.

If you have a team of writers on hand — particularly ones who cover similar topics or niches — it can be helpful to create a central doc with up-to-date stats from trusted sources, such as respected media publications or verified research organizations. Trim off older items as they lose relevance, and continually add in new ones. You’ll want to be careful to avoid the trap where everyone on your staff starts using the same numbers and sources over and over again, but in general I find this practice to be a strong productivity-booster and time-saver.

#4 – Dig Into Data

Stats are not only able to contextualize and reinforce a case we’re trying to make, but they can also illuminate a case worth making in the first place, or provide direction on how to proceed. For example, the insight I mentioned earlier about “hacks” being a clickable blog post title made me wonder: “What ‘hacks’ do I actually know? What kinds of hidden pointers could I surface that might actually be useful to our audience of smart marketers?”

Revelations can be found in insights about particular types of content that resonate within your industry (articles and studies about trends are good sources), or a conclusion drawn from your own Google Analytics (“Wow, look at how well posts about Topic X have performed!”).

Data points are stories waiting to be told, and they are almost infinitely abundant in every industry and vertical.

[bctt tweet=”Data points are stories waiting to be told. Dig into them to find inspiration & overcome #ContentCreation slumps. – @NickNelsonMN” username=”toprank”]

#5 – Reckon with Writer’s Block

It can be tough to get unstuck when you hit a wall in content creation. There’ve been countless instances where I’ve spent more time than I’d like to admit wordsmithing one particular sentence, or figuring the best way to transition from one idea to the next.

In these cases, it never hurts to move on to something else for a while and then circle back later. You can leave yourself a placeholder, as simple as [XXXXX] or more referential like [something about hacking and Game Genie]. This enables you to accomplish other stuff and return with a fresh mind.

Painful as it may be, you should even consider simply getting something down on the page in these moments, even if you don’t think it’s good. A 2012 article in Psychology Today on the subject of overcoming writer’s block argued that this can be necessary to achieve that frequently elusive “flow.”

“Here’s the truth about writing (or any other form of self-expression): If you can’t accept the bad, you can’t get to the good,” wrote Barry Michels. “It’s as if the flow is pure, clean water trapped behind dirty, disgusting sewage. If you can’t welcome the sewage and let it flow through you, you’ll never be able to get to the pure stuff.”

Such a lovely metaphor, isn’t it?

Put Your Content in Flight

Ready to see how high your content can fly? Try incorporating these tips into your routine and see if they can help give your productivity a lift:

  • Challenge yourself to take action on every content creation idea as soon as it strikes you.
  • Try breaking your routine by writing the conclusion to your next post before anything else, and see if it helps make your process more efficient.
  • Create a centralized doc with your most-used sources of stats and insights, then share it with your team and encourage them to add.
  • Analyze data trends from your own past content as well as the industry at large to identify hot topics for your audience.
  • Alter your writing approach to overcome writer’s block.

Otherwise, if you’re interested in learning more about how we do content marketing at TopRank Marketing, check out our services page or reach out and give us a shout. We’re all about driving growth, without any hacking required.

5 Productivity Hacks to Bring Content Creation From Failing to Flying High was posted via Internet Marketing

8 Upcoming Events to Learn All About Content and Influencer Marketing

Learn Content Influencer marketing

According to a new study from eMarketer, in 2018 nearly nine in 10 business-to-business (B2B) companies in the US will use digital content marketing. At the same time, influencer marketing has become one of the hottest topics in the marketing world: The L2 from Gartner reports that over 70% of brands used influencers in their 2017 marketing plans and 95% found them to be effective.

We know how this goes in marketing: a strategy or tactic becomes popular with every opportunist repeating the echo chamber of best practices until it’s unclear what’s really relevant for your business.

We’re seeing firsthand, the impact content and influence is having on marketing and have been working with many of the top B2B brands in the world to plan, implement and optimize content marketing programs with highly credible and connected influencers.

That expertise didn’t happen overnight. We’ve been working hard on B2B influencer marketing strategies, process and workflow, measurement and reporting for the past 6 years. In addition to helping clients develop and implement influencer content programs, we’re also teaching our community about this impactful intersection of disciplines.

In fact, over the next 2 1/2 months there are at least 8 events happening online and in cities including Scottsdale, Boston, San Francisco, Ft Lauderdale and Minneapolis where you can learn the strategies and tactics of influencer and content marketing, presented by team members from TopRank Marketing. Find one that works with your schedule.

B2B Marketing Exchange
Feb 19-21: B2B Marketing Exchange – Scottsdale, AZ

Millennials & Influencer Marketing: How to Organize & Optimize for B2B
Not only are Millennial aged professionals more trusting of social influencers when making purchase decisions, they’re also more likely to participate as influential content creators. B2B brands that can master working with internal and external Millennial talent to co-create content and engage on social channels will reap rewards now and into the future.

This presentation by Lee Odden of TopRank Marketing and Alexandra Rynne of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions will help B2B marketers understand the influencer marketing opportunity with Millennials in multiple ways:

– Understand influencer engagement models from seasoned brandividuals to rising star Millennials

– Bust myths about working with Millennials and how B2B brands can create win/win relationships
– Learn from examples of B2B influencer content in action

Demand Gen Strategies Summit
Demand Gen Summit BrighTalk
Feb 22: Demand Generation Strategies Summit (BrightTalk) – Onlin
e
The Confluence Equation: How Content & Influencers Drive B2B Marketing Success
Content and influencer marketing are hot topics for B2B marketers all over the world as two of the most promising strategies for attracting, engaging and converting ideal customers. What many marketers don’t realize is how collaborating with influencers can create even more credible, relevant, and optimized experiences for target accounts. Join Lee Odden to learn how working with influencers and their communities can help scale quality B2B content that gets results.

Digital Transformation Days - SEMRusn
SEMRush
Feb 22: Digital Transformation Day (SEMRush) – Online
Barry Schwartz and Lee Odden interview each other
Barry Schwartz, President of Rusty Brick, News Editor of Search Engine Land and Executive Editor of Search Engine Roundtable will interview me, Lee Odden, and I will interview Barry about trends in the search and digital marketing world.

SMMW
Feb 28 – Mar 2: Social Media Marketing World – San Diego, CA
How Content Plus Influence Equals Results: The Confluence Equation
Content marketing and influencer marketing are hot topics for marketers all over the world as two of the most promising strategies for attracting, engaging and converting ideal customers. But how do you find the right influencers? What kind of content should you collaborate on? How do you best measure influencer and content success? Join Lee Odden to learn from his experience working with brands big and small to develop efficient and effective formulas for influencer content success.

 

AMA Iowa
Apr 4, American Marketing Association Iowa Event – Des Moines

Influencer Marketing is only for B2C Brands (And Other Lies Your Parents Told You)
For years celebrities have been gracing the covers of magazines, acting in commercials and pimping out their social media profiles for pay. But should that really be considered influencer marketing?

While it may seem like B2C brands have influencer marketing all figured out, there is even more opportunity for B2B brands to begin building meaningful influencer relationships.

One way to do that is by developing influencer driven content programs. These programs provide a unique opportunity reach and build credibility your audience by working with experts that they can relate to and trust. In this presentation, Ashley Zeckman will share:
– A dive into 3 stories of successful content and influencer marketing in action.
– Steps for creating a stellar experience for your audience and your influencers.
– Scrappy ideas for collaborating with influencers when you have limited time and resources.
– Bonus: Formulas for determining content and influencer marketing ROI.

Pubcon
Apr 11-12: Pubcon Florida – Ft Laudedrale, FL

Participation Marketing: The New World of Content Co-Creation, Influencers and Integration for PR
The converging roles of PR and communications with content and marketing is creating rapid demand for new strategies, skills and expectations. As earned and owned media intertwine, communications professionals who fast track their ability to adapt and evolve will gain a competitive advantage in their roles in the new world of PR.

In this session, you’ll learn tested and proven models, strategies and tactics for content marketing based on an integrated and cooperative approach. Some of the key learnings include:
– Content marketing and what it really means for earned, owned and shared media.
– How content co-creation enables content quality at scale.
– Redefining what influence and working with influencers mean for content.
– Key opportunities to integrate the best of PR and marketing for meaningful digital communications that deliver an impact

Marketo Marketing Nation Summit
Apr 29-30: Marketo Marketing Nation Summit – San Francisco, CA

Content Marketing Integration 
Without content, there wouldn’t be any search engines and yet most marketers treat content as if it were simply a tactic for SEO. Content is the fuel that powers all forms of media on all digital channels where customers engage. The most successful marketers approach digital marketing with a customer and content-centric approach that integrates with SEO, social media, influencers and advertising in a way that helps the brand become “the best answer” wherever customers are looking. This presentation from Lee Odden focuses on how to plan, produce, promote and optimize content as a marketing approach that works with or without search engines. But definitely better with search engines. 🙂

Content Marketing Conference
May 2-4: Content Marketing Conference – Boston, MA
The Keys to Successful B2B Content and Influencer Programs
While only 11% of B2B companies were implementing ongoing influencer marketing programs in 2017, brands with mature influencer marketing programs like SAP are elevating the practice. In this presentation with Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing and Amisha Ghandi, Head of Influencer Marketing at SAP, you will learn through several examples about the strategies and best practices that make an Enterprise B2B influencer marketing program successful.

Whether you would like to learn most about Millennials and influencer marketing or content integrated with influence, SEO and social media, there’s a topic for you in the schedule above. Not only can you learn from Ashley Zeckman and myself, but our clients from LinkedIn and SAP are presenting as well.

If you are already attending one of the events above, please do be sure to let us know!


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8 Upcoming Events to Learn All About Content and Influencer Marketing | http://www.toprankblog.com

8 Upcoming Events to Learn All About Content and Influencer Marketing was posted via Internet Marketing

Unconventional Content: PR Stunts for SEO

 

Why would a stunt work for SEO?

SEO is ever evolving and, we have been looking at more interesting and unusual types of creative to generate brand awareness.

Here at Distilled, we are growing our creative outputs as the Google Gods get ever more powerful and all-seeing. One of the ways we’ve done this is with PR stunts. A stunt is a great way to involve your target audiences, create a dialogue, increase social engagement and, contribute to your branded search volume. Larger companies with decent audiences on social will benefit best from this type of play.

What was our idea?

This post is about the whys and hows of a stunt we created for Interflora (the UK’s largest flower delivery network) for World Kindness Day. We asked members of the general public to pass on a rose to a stranger, all in the name of kindness. The clients’ goals were:

Goals

  • Organic performance (through brand awareness and links)
  • Brand awareness

Primary KPI’s

  • Social impressions
  • Page views

Secondary KPI’s

  • Editorial links from top-tier publications

How do I create a stunt that works for my brand?

Your stunt will need to have a product or brand message tie-in, or both.

Fortunately for us, we were able to give away flowers during the stunt – if your product is cars or yachts, you might have to think up a different approach. Your stunt doesn’t have to feature your product, but it must feature your brand message/ethos in some way, whatever that might be e.g.:

  • Green living, clear conscience
  • Fast broadband, spend time on the things that matter
  • Reaching your personal best is all you need

How did our idea tie in with Interflora’s brand message?

Flowers are all about reactions. Flowers are given to make another feel happy, loved, or even reflective. Instead of spreading happiness just to those close to us, we decided to widen the net, and show how a gesture of kindness to a stranger could make someone feel better. London can sometimes feel like a cold unfeeling city, everyone is in a rush and often people are sceptical when approached by a stranger.

But when challenged we found this facade dropped and people were genuinely warmed by our experiment. We found this warmth and conversation continued online, into trackable and measurable KPI’s. People even went as far as to talk to us about their own small gestures of kindness.

How to find a narrative for your stunt

People need to feel a connection to the characters in your video, to empathise with their plight, to be willing them on, wishing for them to succeed (or fail, if that is more amusing). Like all great stories, you need a beginning, a middle (the reveal) and an end. To add greater depth and meaning to our narrative we interviewed a psychologist specialising in “kindness” and elements of this were interspersed throughout the video and related press releases.

Questions to ask yourself to make sure your stunt hits those KPI’s

  • What emotions are your viewers going to feel? 
    Sadness, empathy, elation, informed, moved, empowered, nostalgic?
  • What is going to spur your audience into taking action? 
    Liking, tweeting, commenting, challenging a friend, or following your brand.
  • Not always easily trackable but later on, at the bottom of the funnel, the purchase. If you can make your audience feel something, your brand will be front of mind when it comes to the crunch. We remember emotions. Stunts can even inspire action from your audience.  

But isn’t a stunt a risky thing to do?

Carrying out a stunt can seem risky, there are lots of variables and a lot of time and money invested in something that relies on the participation of the general public. Promising a client a viral video, saying ‘oh sorry the stunt didn’t work’ is never going to cut it. Don’t worry, there are things that you can put in place to ensure your project is a success.

Plan for each eventuality meticulously

Plan for the worst case scenario and hope for the best. Within reason, always overcompensate, whether that is with time or the number of products you need. We had 200 roses on the day of our shoot. For the shots we used, we only needed 50, but many others were required for those shots that didn’t quite work. The roses that were left over at the end we were able to distribute to the general public during the 5 pm rush hour. These stems now made their way into the hands of loved ones houses within the commuter belt, again reinforcing the brand; so nothing lost there.

  • Plan early
    To shoot on a ‘red route’ and in the borough of The City of London, we needed to have two permits, which had a 2 week processing times. These are not costly, but early prep means you can be sure your location is free for shooting.
  • Allow lots of time to work with the general public
    Working with the general public takes time. You will need to explain to them the purpose of their participation. Often numerous takes are required, they are not actors and can not be expected to be fantastic on camera first time. After the footage has been captured get a consent form signed, so there is a paper trail, just in case any appearances are disputed at a later date.
  • Be aware of unavoidable eventualities
    During the rush hour on London Bridge people were much less likely to get involved, they were busy rushing to work. Whereas the stampede of people was great for those ‘masses of people holding yellow roses in a sea of grey shots’ it was not so great for getting people to participate in giving out a rose.  
  • Plan for bad weather
    Shooting on location or outdoors has many more variables than a narrative that just requires a studio. We got a licence to shoot on two days to double our chances of a dry day. Logistically this was tough, the actors and film crew also had to be on standby for a second day of filming. Luckily the weather was in our favour.

  • Don’t stick to the script
    Plan a narrative, but be open to new ones on the day, you never know what could happen. Your camera team will need to be agile, to capture the idiosyncrasies of the general public, who will become the characters in your story. We had one man who took some time to approach someone with his rose. Watching his plight helped entertain the viewer through the full video. They were willing him to succeed, willing him to find that someone’s day to brighten.
  • Let the brand do what they know best
    Interflora was, of course, in charge of the flowers. The flowers arrived at our base at 5 am and were specially treated to ensure long-lasting freshness. The roses had been processed so that they were just the right amount of open to ensure they lasted for a good amount of time in peoples homes and looked great on camera (the real key here).
  • Be prepared for the unknowns
    When the roses arrived in buckets we were surprised at how long the stems were. The buckets looked half empty and the stems looked as if they would topple out they were so long. Action stations! Commence 5 am trimming of 200 rose stems. The roses needed to look the right height in the branded buckets on camera, and the quantity needed to make the buckets feel full.

  • Don’t let uncertainty tame your message/idea
    Don’t let unknowns scare you into choosing a tamer or all-round less interesting concept. Throughout the planning and production of your piece always go back to the message, what it is you are trying to capture/ say/ make people feel. Retaining that message is key. And remember, sometimes the bigger the risk, the greater the payoff.

How can timing affect the launch of your stunt?

Recently we made a piece to push out on World Curry day, only to find when we spoke to a journalist at The Mirror that he had already been approached by 30 other content marketers with every content type and angle under the sun. Tying in with a day, especially the biggest days of the year, e.g. Christmas day or Mother’s day, just really doesn’t make you that original. It also gives you one stab at success. Danger! That said more obscure days can give some tie-in, with less competition, World Kindness day worked for us.

Fanfare: Announcing our very own Jono Alderson’s ridiculous and very comprehensive list of all the possible days you could ever dream of.

Why would people care?

Creating a stunt is a great way to drum up attention and social experiments lead audiences to wonder ‘What will happen? We’re all inherently interested and entertained by the behaviour of other people. A stunt also shows your audience that you are experimental as a brand and willing to try new things.

How successful was our stunt?

Within one week of launch, our stunt was the top viewed video on Interflora’s Facebook page receiving over 150k views. It also garnered:

  • 1.7k Likes
  • 100+ comments
  • 300+ shares
  • Coverage in The Evening Standard (DA 85), Huffington Post (DA 87), BT.com (DA 85)

Here are examples of the types of comments the piece received:

  • ‘I’ve been doing ‘Pay it forwards’ all year. It’s amazing and reminds you that even a small act of kindness can make someone’s day.’ – Laura Preston
  • ‘Giving is so much better than anything else, giving with a true heart is a blessing, watch the smiles grow.’ – Ruth Marshall

How do I maximise the content’s traction online?

Always have a ‘Tease’, ‘Launch’, and ‘Post’ strategy for your content. How will you ramp up the excitement and what will your content calendar look like surrounding the piece to get as much engagement over as long a period as possible? Ask yourself ‘What assets can I make?’ and ‘What questions can I ask the audience to keep the conversation flowing?’ We worked with a press photographer to capture high-quality photography of the day too, these assets were invaluable on both Interflora social channels and for press coverage.

Stunts don’t have to be scary or risky and, as we saw, they can really pay off. Have you created a stunt? What were the lessons you learned?

Unconventional Content: PR Stunts for SEO was posted via Internet Marketing

Digital Marketing News: Social Media Trends, What CMOs Search For & Mobile Ads Soar

Social Media Trends to Put Into Practice in 2018 [Infographic]
What should social media marketers focus on in 2018? This infographic shows several trends, like social media ROI, mobile growth and trust. Social Media Today

Search, Paid And SEO, Rank Higher As CMOs Seek New Agency Partners
What do CMOs look for in agency partners? A new report shows that while advertising and direct marketing remain on the top of the list, SEO and SEM are moving to toward the top in leaps and bounds. MediaPost

Mobile Ads To Soar In 2018, Especially In Local Media
MediaPost reports: “Social media ad revenue from mobile (not including tablets) now represents just over 70% of total social ad spending – and will grow to 80% by 2022, per BIA/Kelsey.” MediaPost

Google Analytics Introduces New ‘Audiences’ Report
Google Analytics has released a new report called “Audiences,” which is located, appropriately under the “audiences” category within the Google Analytics dashboard. To use this report, make sure to configure audiences in your account. Search Engine Journal

Google Officially Announces the New Google Search Console is Available for Everyone
Great news for Google Search Console users: the new version (in beta) is now available to everyone. You can still toggle between the old and new views if needed. Changes include consolidated error reporting and better export usability. Search Engine Land

Twitter Extends Full Tweet Archive to Developers
ZDNet reports: “Twitter announced it’s giving developers access to the full archive of its history – all the way back to the first tweet in 2006. Until Thursday, full access to Twitter’s history was only available to enterprise API customers.” ZDNet

Instagram’s Carousel Ad Format is Coming to Instagram Stories
Instagram announced recently that they’re bringing their Carousel Ads into stories, allowing for more than one piece of media. Advertisers can now use 1-3 pieces of media (photos or videos) in this new format. TechCrunch

The State of Chatbots in 2018: Top Benefits and Challenges
Consumers are saying that the benefits of chatbots include 24-hour customer service, along with getting instant responses. However, 43% of those surveyed said a potential blocker to using chatbots would be their preference for a live assistant. MarketingProfs

Amazon Wins the Superbowl (of Ads)
According to USA Today, Amazon’s “Alexa” spots beat out the NFL’s “Dirty Dancing”-themed ads during this year’s Super Bowl. USA Today

US Social Users Head to YouTube, Facebook to Watch Videos
Marketers can no longer afford to ignore video advertising. Why? eMarketer is predicting that video ad spending in the US alone will reach $15.42 billion this year, and will grow to $22.18 billion by 2021. eMarketer

Intel Made Smarts Glasses That Look Normal
Apparently, The Verge recently got an exclusive sneak peek at Intel’s new smart glasses Vaunt, which uses retinal projection to put a display in your eyeball. The best part? The glasses actually look like “normal” glasses. The Verge

Digital Ad Buyers Say Google Search, Facebook Deliver the Best ROI
A December 2017 survey of U.S. senior ad buyers by financial services firm Cowen and Company showed Google search was held in the “highest esteem” when it came to ROI. Nearly half of respondents named the platform as offering the highest ROI. Meanwhile, Facebook ranked second, named by 30% of those polled. eMarketer

Snapchat Slips in Features Like Fonts and Do Not Disturb Amidst Redesign
Snapchat appears to be following in Facebook’s “Time Well Spent” steps. The latest? Snapchat is offering a way to mute specific people without formally blocking them, according to TechCrunch. In addition, the major redesign that’s slowly rolling out comes with ways to jazz up your Snaps with colorful text styles and multiple captions. TechCrunch

Best & Worst Super Bowl 2018 Commercials
While the world knows the Philadelphia Eagles are Super Bowl champions, which brands took the gold for best commercials? And which ones can be crowned as the worst? Billboard’s picks for the best include the Doritos & Mountain Dew combo, and Amazon. Billboard

On the Lighter Side:

Pepsi CEO Says It’s Targeting Women With Doritos That Are Cleaner and Less Crunchy. Apparently, ladies need quiet snacks that don’t make a mess. At least, that seems to be Pepsi’s belief. As AdWeek reported: “In an interview with Freakonomics, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi said that while women ‘would love’ to lick their fingers and pour Doritos chip crumbs into their mouths, they ‘don’t like to crunch too loudly in public’ and ‘don’t like to pour the little broken pieces and the flavor into their mouth.’” AdWeek

TopRank Marketing (And Clients) In the News:
Debbie Friez – 2018 Social Media Marketing Tips From 23+ Marketing Experts – Hot in Social Media
Lee Odden – Top 20 Marketers that Influence CMOs – Forbes
Lee Odden, SAP & LinkedIn (clients) – Report: Understanding the B2B Content Marketing Landscape – eMarketer

Digital Marketing News: Social Media Trends, What CMOs Search For & Mobile Ads Soar was posted via Internet Marketing

Social Media Marketing Spotlight: U.S. Bank Rallies Local Allies for a Friendly, Engaging #MnNice #NiceOff

US Bank NiceOff

Roughly 120,000 visitors from 130 countries descended on the Twin Cities last week to take part in Super Bowl LII festivities hosted in downtown Minneapolis. To welcome visitors to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank—which just so happens to have its name on the stadium that hosted the big game—wanted to give visitors a taste of “what Minnesota is all about.”

For those of you who haven’t heard, Minnesota—where TopRank Marketing is proudly based—isn’t just known for its frigid winters and as the birthplace and residence of the late Prince Rogers Nelson. It’s also known for its “northern hospitality”—or as it’s affectionately called—Minnesota Nice.

With Minnesota Nice as their inspiration—and some great strategic thinking—U.S. Bank launched the #MnNice #NiceOff conversation and friendly competition on Twitter, inviting its followers and other local brands to try to “out-nice” each other by sharing acts of kindness that are Minnesota Nice signatures.

The result? A social media marketing campaign that was thoughtful, engaging, subtly brand-centric, and influencer-activated.

Starting the Conversation

While the conversation started with the single tweet below, the campaign was in the works for weeks.

US Bank Minnesota Nice Off

As it so happens, TopRank Marketing alumni and current U.S. Bank Social Media Campaign Manager, Jason Schober, was part of the action. And he was gracious enough to give us an inside look.

“We really wanted to evoke some engagement and brand activation within the community of people that would be participating in the activities leading up to and at the big game,” Schober told us.

Eventually, the Minnesota Nice-themed campaign strategy emerged as a winning idea. To get started, the team team laid out a strategy that would ensure FCC compliance by not mentioning financial products or services in communications, respect Super Bowl guidelines since U.S. Bank was not a direct sponsor, and make sure the campaign made sense for their brand identity and voice.

The campaign was in great shape, but U.S. Bank didn’t want to go at it alone. So, roughly a week before launch, they began to form partnerships with other local, well-known brands—including Target, Land O’ Lakes, Sun Country and 3M—to be part of the conversation. However, none of the partnering brands knew what others would be posting until it unfolded on launch day (Feb. 1), which kept the conversation real and spontaneous. Here’s a shot of the beginning of the conversation.

Target and US Bank Nice Off

For the work we do at TopRank Marketing, this move is directly tied to the power of influence in marketing. By partnering with influential brands, U.S. Bank was not only able to add credible voices to the conversation, but also extend their reach to these brands’ respective audiences. In addition, once the ball got rolling, other brands and individuals were given an organic opportunity to get in on the fun. Of course, many of the interactions cleverly intertwined a brand’s own marketing message. Here’s one of our favorites:

3M Minnesota Nice Off Tweet

Top the Tater Minnesota Nice Off Tweet

When it came to selecting the right hashtag to define the conversation, their approach was two-pronged, according to Jason.

“The original idea was #MinnesotaNiceOff,” he explained. “But for both tracking and engagement purposes, we decided to leverage two hashtags: #MnNice and #NiceOff. Reason being, we knew #MnNice was already being used and could open our conversation up to a broader audience, and #NiceOff would be something we could own and brand the conversation with.”

The Big Takeaway

A thoughtful, integrated social media marketing strategy is an absolute must. Start by looking at any compliance and trademark red tape, as well as how a campaign will integrate with and complement your brand. Then ask yourself: What other credible, influential voices can be added to elicit shared value?

Managing Engagement

There’s little doubt that trolls and disgruntled users are commonplace on social media these days, often trying to ruin the spirit of good conversation. And in today’s world of social media, hashtags are conversations. So, when it comes to branding your marketing message with a hashtag conversation starter, marketers need to prepare for the fact that they don’t necessarily own the content or the conversation.

For U.S. Bank, they knew the risks of starting the #MnNice #NiceOff conversation. But they also believed the campaign easily lent itself to passively putting trolls in their place. As you can see from the thread below, U.S. Bank made it a point to go full-out with the campaign theme when confronted with negativity.

US Bank's Repsonse to Nice Off Troll

“Our entire campaign was centered on Minnesota Nice,” Jason said. “The only appropriate response to these kinds of interactions was to be as overly polite as possible.”

The Big Takeaway

When it comes to anticipating trolls or negative responses, consider the worst-case scenario for your hashtag-branded campaign and build it into your overall strategy. As our own Joshua Nite recently wrote on the topic of proper hashtag usage, when creating your own hashtag, ask yourself:

  • Who are you talking to?
  • What are you trying to say?
  • How else could your hashtag be interpreted?
  • What other conversations might it start?

Keeping the Momentum Going

Once the tweeting began on launch day, Jason said his team was using Spredfast as a helpful tool to monitor, track, and respond in real-time. But once it became clear that the conversation was on the right track—barring input from trolls—the team decided to leverage Twitter Moments to turn the conversation into a storytelling space.

“This was already in the original plan because we wanted to continue to tell the story beyond the initial conversation,” Jason told us. “But we were waiting for the momentum to take over before creating the Moment.”

As for results, between Feb. 1 and Feb. 6, the Twitter Moment saw nearly 35,000 total opens, 31,247 unique opens, 448 likes, 155 shares, and a 8.48% completion rate.

The Big Takeaway

Whether it be a campaign or every-day usage, make sure you understand the full capabilities of any social media platform you’re engaging on. This will not only help you think more strategically about your messaging and interactions, but also help you provide more value for your audience. This is especially important in the age of decline (or extinction) for organic visibility on social platforms.

In addition, social media listening and management tools are often an investment that pays off—especially during campaigns. As TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden has said: “Tools make reaching social media marketing goals possible.”

Shine the Social Media Spotlight on Your Brand

For brands and marketers of all industries, social media hashtag campaigns like this serves as a great example of running a smart, strategic, and integrated campaign.

By thinking strategically from start to finish—and inviting like-minded, influential brand voices to the table—U.S. Bank was able to not only capitalize on one of the biggest sporting events of the year, but also garner meaningful and organic interactions, engage in some friendly competition with other local brands being gracious Super Bowl hosts, and spotlight and activate their brand identity.

Want some more inspiration from brands on Twitter? Take a peek at both B2B and B2C brands mastering the art of social customer care on Twitter.


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© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2018. |
Social Media Marketing Spotlight: U.S. Bank Rallies Local Allies for a Friendly, Engaging #MnNice #NiceOff | http://www.toprankblog.com

Social Media Marketing Spotlight: U.S. Bank Rallies Local Allies for a Friendly, Engaging #MnNice #NiceOff was posted via Internet Marketing