“How can I put data at the center of my organization’s marketing strategy? Which teams need access to that data? And how should I train them to use it successfully?”
On Nov. 15, we hosted a webinar with Econsultancy to answer questions like these and discuss our recent joint survey of over 700 marketing leaders about how they’re using data to stay ahead in their fields. Casey Carey, Director of Platforms Marketing at Google, and Stefan Tornquist, Vice President of Research at Econsultancy, walked through the results, revealing some fascinating takeaways.
Topics included everything from key skills and training to best practices in data-driven decision-making. One standout lesson? Teams across companies are focused on tying their data and analytics to business outcomes.
After the talk, listeners shared a number of follow-up questions for Casey and Stefan. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the most intriguing answers. Interested in the bigger picture? Check out the full webinar along with Q&A here: 7 ways marketing leaders use data to deliver better customer experiences.
1. What are the first steps marketing teams should take when they begin using multi-touch or data-driven attribution?
Casey: First and foremost, attribution is a big data problem. Going into an attribution project, job one is to get your data house in order. Connect all your campaigns, prospective customer touchpoints, and conversion events; start establishing a taxonomy for naming channels, placements, sites, and so on.
Second, you have to reckon with the real organizational and cultural impacts of moving to an attribution model. Companies tend to be organized in channel silos. So when you begin looking at performance across channels to find the optimal mix, you have to break down those barriers. Your executive leadership has to sponsor that, and your teams have to be willing to make the necessary changes.
2. What types of training typically help people in marketing get over the “I’m not an analyst, that’s not my job” attitude and use more data?
Stefan: Many companies see training as either a technical discipline or an employee benefit, and one that comes at a cost. But with marketing becoming more sophisticated and technical, you need an ongoing training program for marketers that includes a foundation in statistics and in analytical practices and thinking, as well as core finance and business knowledge. You also need to provide training on the technologies themselves.
In our own research, we’ve seen that when they’re given the right training, marketers become more effective, stay in the organization longer, and are more likely to be promoted.
(For more on training to use data, check out How to make everyone on your team a data-savvy marketer.)
3. What are some of the critical skill sets needed to lead this type of transformation and generate buy-in?
Stefan: There’s a close association between marketing and analytics on the one hand and the business outcomes on the other. Leaders of a targeted transformation to data-driven marketing need to understand – and show that they understand – the business’s larger goals and issues. They need to connect abstract principles of analytics to practical outcomes and business KPIs – to close the gap between data and insights. They need to show how practical insights have actually been data-driven, how data gets you real answers that contribute to the business.
4. How can vendors and consultants help companies get the right resources and institute the organizational changes that are needed for success?
Casey: Sometimes a vendor’s goal when they make a sale is to minimize the impact that their technology will have on resources and organizational structures. Companies buying a technology solution have to see that solution as part of an entire process and strategy, and ask vendors to help with that.
I always love when I’m talking to prospective clients and they ask questions such as: “OK, so, how does this impact my org structure? How many people and what skills do I need to actually be successful doing this? What other services should I be considering?” It really instills confidence that they’re actually going to realize the business value from the investment.
5. How do you cast a wider net from a data and analytics standpoint and ensure KPIs don’t miss critical trends and changes?
Stefan: There’s got to be a balance. The insights we provide need to go beyond things like tweaks to make emails perform better. Instead, we need to think both analytically and creatively and ask higher-level questions. Things like, “What are our customers going to be doing in five years that’s going to make our current business model obsolete?”
Casey: You have to build into your organization the discipline to open your field of view so you’re not getting caught by surprise. Sometimes we get so focused on executing and optimizing towards KPIs and we lose that bigger view.
6. Do businesses get hung up on language when it comes to change? Is the word “marketing” sufficient to describe the scope of modern marketing?
Stefan: Perhaps “marketing” isn’t sufficient to describe what modern marketing is becoming. Similarly, we say “digital marketing” even though digital is almost a vestigial word in this context – is there any aspect of marketing today that doesn’t have a digital component?
But the reality is we’re not going to change what we call things. What organizations can do internally is to change the “language-first” perception. To a certain degree, putting new terminology around it – “marketing-led transformation,” for example – does change how other stakeholders perceive it. But the bottom line is that marketing owns that customer relationship and owns that evolving customer knowledge. As such, it’s still going to be the core of whatever change is happening.
Interested in further ways data can improve your entire marketing organization? Check out The Enterprise Marketer’s Playbook and learn how to build an integrated data strategy for your team.
Posted by Matt Earp, Content Marketing Strategist, Google Analytics team
Try out the new Community Connectors in the gallery
We have recently added additional Community Connectors to the Data Studio Community Connector gallery from developers including: DataWorx, Digital Inspiration, G4interactive, Kevpedia, Marketing Miner, MarketLytics, Mito, Power My Analytics, ReportGarden, and Supermetrics. These connectors will let you access data from additional external sources, leveraging Data Studio as a free and powerful reporting and analysis solution. You can now use more than 50 Community Connectors from within the Gallery to access all your data.
Find the connector you need
In the Data Studio Community Connector gallery, it is possible for multiple connectors to connect to the same data source. There are also instances where a single connector can connect to multiple data sources. To help users find the connector they need, we have added the Data Sources page where you can search for Data Sources and see what connectors are available to use. The connector list includes native connectors in Data Studio as well as verified and Open Source Community Connectors. You can directly use the connectors by clicking the direct links on the Data Sources page.
Vote for your data source
If your data source is not available to use through any existing connector, you can Vote for your data source. This will let developers know which Data Sources are most in demand. Developers should also let us know which Community Connector you are building. We will use this information to update the Data Sources page.
Tell us your story
If you have any interesting connector stories, ideas, or if you’d like to share some amazing reports you’ve created using Community Connectors please let us know by giving us a shout or send us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Minhaz Kazi, Data Studio Developer Relations Team
One of the biggest challenges facing a franchisee’s growth is their ability to execute a winning digital marketing strategy that is unfettered by a franchiser.
A struggle often exists between a franchiser’s need to control their brand, and a franchisee’s desire to market their business through their own strategies.
According to Jason Decker of Search Engine Land, franchises are failing at:
- Managing all the local business listings of franchisees
- Developing unique content for locations and their location pages
- Monitoring and engaging with customer reviews
From poorly managed PPC campaigns, to a general lack of digital marketing expertise by franchisees, let’s take a closer look at how you can overcome many of the most common franchise marketing challenges.
1. Fragmented strategies and goals
The largest issue for franchises is a poorly integrated digital marketing strategy. The franchise may have clear goals, but the goals of franchisees may be different. This creates fragmented marketing strategies.
The very nature of franchises is “structured”, however, when it comes to marketing, that structure often lacks. If there is no unified digital marketing strategy with clear guidelines in place, a mixed marketing message and fractured consumer targeting approach will occur.
Is it essential to have clear strategies and goals in place for franchisees?
“Franchising is based on conformity and uniformity, not freedom. As a franchisee, you do not really hold the reins,” Karsten Strauss of Forbes explained. “You may technically be the boss of your shop, but you must follow the orders of the home office.”
This doesn’t mean that a franchise should lay down the law without room for collaboration. Franchise HQ and the many franchisee branches need to work together in order to define branding and unified marketing message.
Providing a core marketing strategy that will serve both the franchise and franchisee will ultimately serve up increased growth and revenue for everyone involved.
Core marketing strategies for franchisees to integrate include:
- List of brand assets franchisees can employ for all marketing channels, like social media, website, and email direct marketing
- Monthly marketing calendars highlighting promotional opportunities and consumer events at the global and local level
- Develop or integrate an in-house platform where franchisees can access all marketing assets
2. Cannibalizing Pay Per Click (PPC) efforts
Franchisees, if not in sync, could end up competing against one another for PPC ads. This PPC cannibalism could result in lost marketing budget and poor ROI. This is not optimal for the competing franchisees or the franchisor.
What can franchises do to eliminate PPC cannibalism between franchisees?
Just as the case of overcoming fragmented marketing strategies due to different goals, a clear plan needs to be in place for PPC. Franchises need to set guidelines across their franchisee network to ensure the same logic and goal is in mind. Increase engagement and profit without competing against one another.
A few PPC campaign tweaks for your franchisees should include:
- Identifying the keywords each franchisee should bid on, and identifying keywords each franchisee should not bid on
- An overhaul of each franchisee’s geo-targeting. This should help with the overlap and potential for PPC cannibalism
- Encourage franchisees that may overlap in territory to work together when it comes to PPC campaign efforts
When two franchisee locations are simply too close to one another, they can consider combining their PPC efforts. However, many franchisees may be outsourcing their PPC to an agency. It is imperative that the marketing agencies of the franchisees in close proximity collaborate to ensure all strategies and bids are aligned.
3. Duplicate content and lack of unique content
When it comes to digital marketing, having unique content that is not duplicated anywhere else online is vital to ranking success and brand visibility. The same practice goes for franchisors and their franchisees.
“Undecided consumers who are researching their options might check out a website and social media presence more than once,” Dan Antonelli explained in Entrepreneur. “When they come back, seeing something new and relevant makes their visit a better experience — and shows that the brand is a professional organization.”
If you are providing one set of content for every franchisee website, or other online marketing, you should start to reconsider your overall marketing efforts. With Google penalties around every online corner, duplicate content or failing to produce unique, fresh content could land your franchisees and franchise in hot water.
How can franchisors ensure unique content for all franchisees?
Franchisors should provide marketing material for all franchisee webpages with guidelines for the types of content that can be created.
This franchisor provided information could then be redeveloped by each franchisee, putting a fresh spin on it to prevent duplicating content across multiple web pages. The content can also be ever changing when franchise level promotions, deals, and new products or services are released.
Content marketing strategies for franchisees include:
- Develop a master content marketing sheet that is accessible to all franchisees.
- Let your franchisees hire their own writers or content marketing agencies.
- Encourage SEO efforts for all content marketing campaigns, whether in-house or via an agency.
- Have all franchisees create their own unique content relevant to their local area and target audience.
“If each franchise has its own site, more content will need to be produced, but the content strategy behind each piece will likely be more or less the same,” Amanda DiSilvestro writes on Content Marketing Institute.
“You need guest posting, and you need content for the website or websites, and so your franchises need to know your expectations.”
4. Not localizing or segmenting email marketing
Franchisors and franchisees that fail to localize and segment their email marketing efforts will discover poor engagement and decreased revenue. It is imperative for franchisees to target the right customers in their local marketplace, and at the right time.
According to email marketing research by emailmonday, only 22 percent of retail emails are opened. Generic email lists lacking a local email marketing strategy simply will not do. In fact, the broad marketing messages will often repel potential customers, as well as ones who have interacted with your franchise in the past.
One of the factors behind this franchise digital marketing challenge is the lack of a centralized email marketing system. Franchisors can quickly lose control of their core brand messaging if a centralized system is not in place.
How can you ensure your message is not lost during franchisee email marketing campaigns?
The first thing franchisors need to integrate into their email marketing strategy is a centralized system. This could be as simple as centralizing all email lists for different customer requests, comments, and touch points.
Each of these centralized email lists can them be segmented for target audiences based on their specific locations. This lets you deliver geo-targeted and personalized emails marketing messages with a high level of consistency among all your franchisees.
Other email marketing tips for franchisors and franchisees are:
- Tailor your email messages to your customers in a way they will find them useful.
- Make email marketing more personal, and follow up if resources are available.
- Use email subject lines that relate to the local area.
- Ensure social media is integrated in your email marketing outreach, allowing customers to share your message.
- Use segmented marketing tactics like language, region, or other consumer demographics.
“Creating or updating your campaign to focus more on local marketing could be the answer you’ve been looking for,” as Amanda DiSilvestro previously wrote on Search Engine Watch. “There’s a lot of evidence to suggest that the future of email marketing is hyperlocal.”
The above digital marketing challenges franchises face can become problems of the past. By integrating a few easy concepts and by employing new marketing tactics, your local customer base will increase, and you will build a successful franchise.
What marketing strategies have worked well for your franchise in the past?
The purpose of a content marketing campaign is almost never a boost in sales: People who want to consume and share information rarely intend to buy. Content marketing is mostly about influencing the influencer, i.e. those people who can impact your customers’ buying decisions.
Hence the most effective content marketing strategy is the one that involves influencers, especially influencer-driven content.
According to the ANA survey from Linqia, 57 per cent of marketers report that influencer-driven content outperforms brand-created content:
- Influencers are people who have already earned your consumers’ trust, hence influencer-created content is more trustable than brand-created content
- Naturally, people prefer to engage with people rather than brands, hence influencer-created content triggers more audience engagement than brand-created content
- With the above in mind, it’s obvious that influencer-driven content results in higher ROI – and also thanks to the fact that it spreads easier using the power of participating influencers.
But how to engage influencers into creating content for your company blog? One of the most effective ways is to set up a writing contest: Have them contribute content to your blog for a chance to win a prize or a set of prizes.
Benefits of holding a content marketing contest
There so many marketing opportunities behind this idea that it will make your head spin:
- Free editorial content from notable names in your niche published on your blog will attract more clicks, grow your email list and diversify your rankings
- Social media shares that content will bring will build your brand awareness
- Partnering with other businesses in your industry for them to provide prizes for your winners will build important connections
- Involving niche influencers and popular media outlets to judge and announce your winners will bring more connections and exposure.
Furthermore, think about the customers you will be able to engage when announcing the contest in your newsletter and on your social media channels.
There are so many reasons to try this tactic that you may be wondering why you haven’t done it before. Well, it’s tough and time-consuming, but the steps below, together with some handy tools, will make it possible.
1. Brainstorm and research topic areas
Obviously, hosting a content marketing contest starts with what any content marketing tactic should start: Brainstorming and keyword research. There are mainly two approaches you can take here:
- Focus all entries around your brand: Invite your current customers to submit content that talks about your product. How are they using it? Which problem did it solve? This way you’ll enrich your blog with a variety of user-generated content that will bring many more users who will be encouraged to give it a try too. Of course, that will engage your userbase but it will limit your contest entries to your current customers.
- Focus all entries around your general niche. This can be timed out to upcoming holidays (e.g. “Submit your Christmas recipes”, etc.) In order to keep the topics relevant to what your product does, you may want to come with a set list of topics which is where keyword research comes into play.
When I plan any content marketing campaign, I always start with keyword clustering, which is something I’ve explained how to do in a previous article for SEW. Playing with keyword groups always gives me a nice perspective and helps me brainstorm.
Here’s an example from Serpstat breaking down a very cluttered topic into nice categories to pick one to go with:
Read more on how keyword clustering works on Serpstat and how to group your keyword lists.
2. Reach out to participants
Now that you know the topics you want to focus your content marketing contest around, it’s time that you reach out to prominent writers and bloggers in your industry who you think will want to participate.
If you are focusing on your product-related content, it’s as simple as reaching out to your customers. For general how-to content contest, you’ll need to create a list of influencers who:
- Will want to participate
- Are probably to busy to participate, but will agree to help you spread the word and collect more entries.
I use Buzzsumo to find active content writers in my niche. They have handy filters that allow me to find bloggers who have hosted or participated in similar ventures, or don’t mind contributing to others.
3. Get organized!
You’ll be dealing with lots of new contacts: hopefully influencers participating and coming on board to spread the word, press contacts, media partners, sponsors, etc. Unless you get organized, you’ll be lost and miss a lot of opportunities.
You can use your current customer management platform to organize all the new contacts and leads you’ll be building throughout the contest. Otherwise, give Hubspot’s CRM a try: it’s free, and it will give you all the required features to record, organize and follow up with all the new contacts you’ll be building along the way.
I also use Cyfe to keep everything relating to a current campaign I am running within one dashboard. You can use the dashboard to keep an eye on brand mentions, create quick links to other tools you should be keeping an eye on a daily basis, import your Gmail messages, and so much more.
4. Keep your content quality standards high
- You want your participants to disclaim any relationship or bias when they mention other sites
- You want your participants to stay away from mentioning your direct competitors
- You want your participants to only provide exclusive content and never publish it anywhere else
- You want your participants to adhere to particular quality guidelines (a certain length, format, using images, etc.)
- You want your participants to clearly understand the judging process (I recommend against using easy-to-game metrics like “The most shared article wins”. It’s much better to come up with something more complicated, for example, winners will be determined by a panel of unbiased judges based on certain criteria. However keep the process very transparent: Those judges should be publicly listed and their voting should be publicized too)
- You may want your participants to support a certain payment method (in case you offer a cash prize)
All of that should be listed in a formal agreement all the participants should review and sign to avoid any misunderstandings later. Try using KeepSolid Sign app which is currently free to make sure every participant is well-informed.
5. Collect in and present your entries
There are plenty of ways to easily collect entries for your contest. You can use Google Forms or set up advanced Contact Us Forms that will force entries to comply with your guidelines (e.g. set the required minimum word count, include extra mandatory fields like links to the author’s social media profiles and previous articles). Here are great WordPress plugins for that.
There’s also a tool that is specifically designed to collect entries for content marketing contests, called Easy Promos. They have additional features that may make your job easier like integrated voting features, photo and video uploads, etc.
With the platform, you can pick a winner via public voting, a jury or by random choice with certificate of validity.
When it comes to collecting and displaying entries and participants, you can go as creative as your imagination takes you. For example, Gleam allows you to create and embed blog widgets with the contest leaderboard (which naturally attracts more entries).
6. Scale up your content promotion
Obviously, you want that content from your contestants to do well on social media because it’s your site that will generate additional traffic and exposure from those shares. I use Drumup for all my social media campaigns, because it makes it so easy to organize content that needs promotion.
Use Drumup Content Library feature to keep all the entries in one category to easily go back and see all of them. Furthermore, set up each article to go live throughout your social media channels several times in the future to reach more of your followers:
You also want that content to spread beyond your immediate social media circles! To achieve this, you can submit every entry to a tool called ViralContentBee [Disclaimer: This is a project I co-founded].
ViralContentBee allows you to tag each contributor in the “RT” field to encourage your participants to engage with every tweet:
I hope these tools will encourage you to give hosting an influencer-driven writing contest a try. Good luck!
Centralized user management
Administrators can now centrally manage users across all Google Analytics accounts linked to your organization. If you have many accounts, and need to add users across them, you’ll see huge time savings. For example, if you need to give a new teammate access to 25 accounts, you previously had to visit every account to get them setup. Now you can complete this task from one place.
You can also:
- View rich cross product and cross account details for your users
- Manage a user’s access across many Analytics accounts in one console
- See new details about how a user inherits their permissions
- Get clear in-product explanations of different access levels and privileges
If you’re just using Google Analytics, and don’t need to manage users across accounts, you’ll see many of these same improvements inside of Google Analytics. All of the navigation and documentation improvements are present in both places.
User Groups in Google Analytics
Organization administrators often need to manage access for hundreds of users. This process can be tedious, especially when dealing with multiple Analytics accounts. Now you can more easily manage large teams of users by creating a group, placing the appropriate people inside it, and granting the groups access to the appropriate Analytics accounts. You can even place a group inside a group if you need to manage a hierarchy of teams. To get started, you’ll need to create an organization. Check out this help center article for more information.
Combined with existing features like the ability to centrally audit and set policies for users, these new features bring enterprise grade controls to your organization. They also pave the way for future enhancements, such as bringing centralized user management and user groups to more products.
Posted by Matt Matyas, Product Manager Google Analytics
According to Hochman Consultants (2017), the average cost of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is increasing – with the average cost-per-click in 2016 being nearly double that of 2013.
When you consider the fact that Google processes over 2.3 million searches per minute (Business Insider, 2016), this is hardly surprising.
But what can marketers do to ensure that they can attract customers on this increasingly competitive channel, while avoiding these burgeoning costs?
In my previous two articles, I looked at how to stop Google AdWords campaigns from failing by using a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to gain a holistic overview of customer behavior, and how data-driven attribution with a CDP can supercharge your paid search.
In this article, I’ll outline five ways that a Customer Data Platform can improve your AdWords performance and ROI by keeping costs down and attracting new business.
Content produced in partnership with Fospha.
1. Data accuracy
Many businesses continue to struggle with optimizing their keyword bids. The simple reason for this is the fact that, regardless of how modern and advanced your bid management platform is, inputting inaccurate data can hinder success – and be costly to your business.
A Customer Data Platform gathers, integrates and centralizes customer data from various sources to give marketers more control of, and visibility over, their data. This data-driven approach stitches together the customer journey, and uses attribution to accurately assign credit to various marketing channels based on their importance in the path to conversion.
Without this true view of their data, businesses are missing the accurate value of their different channels. They also risk making poor decisions about which marketing channels are beneficial, and which are not, which might result in budget being taken away from a channel which has a huge role in the path to conversion.
With more accurate data, Customer Data Platforms are able to highlight the true value of keywords – allowing your business to pinpoint high and low performing keywords and campaigns, and optimize their spend on paid search.
For instance, with a more accurate data source, Fospha were able to help a client identify that 50% of their keywords weren’t contributing to any conversions. Check out the full case study here.
Manual bid management can be a laborious task, but with the help of a bid management platform to automate the process, this becomes a quick, effortless and efficient process. The next step lies in super-charging the capabilities of this platform. And the answer lies in an accurate data source.
Combining the power of the Customer Data Platform to discover high and low performing keywords across all channels through this data, with the automation of a bid management platform, enables spend on poorly performing keywords to be quickly reallocated – resulting in an improvement in ROI.
3. Real-time access
Unlike most other Customer Data Platforms, Fospha facilitates real-time interactions for bidding, helping reduce and eliminate the amount of wasted clicks on incorrect audiences. A Customer Data Platform integrates seamlessly with bid management platforms like Kenshoo and Marin to support these real-time interactions, such as bidding on ad clicks.
Real-time access through a Customer Data Platform also enables marketers to automate their bid management through advanced machine learning.
Marketers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of moving away from keyword-based marketing, and towards audience-based marketing. However, they can go one step further – making a move towards people-based marketing.
This is no less of a necessity with your bidding strategies. Understanding your audience is crucial, and by utilizing a data-driven attribution model, a Customer Data Platform provides you with a granular understanding of a single customer. From here, you are able to use your data to optimize your targeting and increase conversions by offering more relevant content to your customers.
In addition to this, keyword performance is largely dependent on types of devices used. It is important to boost keywords that do better on mobile and to suppress those that do not. Marin found that by adjusting bids for mobile, their clients enjoyed 10% higher CTR and 2.5% lower CPC than those that failed to do so.
A Customer Data Platform is able to detect these optimized conditions and adjust your bid management strategy accordingly.
5. Bidding strategies
Defining your bidding strategy can drastically improve the performance of your paid search campaigns. However, in order to reach a truly optimized level, different keywords, audiences and goals will require different bidding strategies.
A Customer Data Platform gives you a granular view of all your marketing channels to ensure the strategy deployed is custom to each specific need.
Content produced in partnership with Fospha. Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Search Engine Watch.
These new elements echo some of the changes we made to Google Analytics earlier this year — the updates should help bridge the gap for anyone who uses both Google Analytics and Google Analytics for Firebase. We’ve also added new reports and cards that will make the Google Analytics for Firebase Dashboard more timely and helpful.
We are now providing you with more real-time information throughout Google Analytics for Firebase to give you a better read on what’s happening in your app.
Inside the Google Analytics for Firebase Dashboard, you’ll now find a real-time card, much like the one on the Google Analytics Home. It shows details on the number of active users in the past 30 minutes. You’ll also see the top conversion events logged by the app. You can configure these conversions so you can track app events that are most important to your team.
Google Analytics for Firebase has a brand new stability card that reports on data from Firebase Crash Reporting and Firebase Crashlytics. It displays the percentage of users who have not had their app crash, so you can see just how stable your app is.
The new Latest Release report lets app developers track the adoption and stability of new app versions within a few hours of release.
The report also contains a real-time card with an app version filter that lets you see which users have adopted the latest version of a release and know whether any versions have crashed in the past 30 minutes. It also lets you measure your users’ level of engagement.
Same Great Analytics
The updated experience is more consistent with Google Analytics, but one thing hasn’t changed: Google Analytics for Firebase users still get the same great app-centric reporting and analysis they’re used to for Android and iOS. Our engineers are working on developments and new features we’ll share in the months to come.
To see the new look and updated features, check out your Firebase project now. (Don’t have one yet? Sign up!)
Posted by Sukriti Singal, Product Manager, Google Analytics
In today’s marketing climate, data is key. Indeed, more data is generated in a 24-hour period than ever before, with 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being created daily across the globe (IBM, 2017).
The challenge lies in being able to harness this data to optimize marketing activities. After all, without an understanding of what your customers are doing, it is almost impossible to increase conversions and ROI.
One of the key channels for marketers is paid search. Indeed, this is rapidly becoming the most powerful digital marketing channel, with over 2.3 million searches occurring per day. With all these interactions, marketers are paying a premium to get their brand, reflected in the fact that pay-per-click advertising costs are sky rocketing.
Marketers can gain visibility on their paid search activities, and overcome the rising cost of customer acquisition and retention in this channel, by taking control of their customer data.
In my previous article on how to stop Google AdWords campaigns from failing, I looked at how businesses can use a Customer Data Platform to gain a holistic overview of customer conversion, and properly attribute the role of each keyword in the conversion path.
In this article, I’ll expand on how data-driven attribution and the use of a Customer Data Platform can supercharge your paid search activities.
Content produced in partnership with Fospha.
Step 1: Integrate
The key challenge of the rise in multi-channel and multi-device customer journeys is the fact that businesses store this multitude of data in disparate silos, as illustrated in Figure 1.
The result? No unified view of the customer journey, and no understanding of how they are interacting with various marketing channels and campaigns. Businesses must therefore look to integrate their various data sources, using a Customer Data Platform, to provide this granular single customer view.
As well as integrating customer data, a Customer Data Platform will stitch data together, and link typically anonymised data with known identifiers. In doing so, multiple visits – across numerous sessions, channels and devices – are linked to one individual, so marketers can begin to understand who specific customers are, where they came from, what they viewed, and how they interacted with marketing channels on their path to purchase.
Once this view is in place, marketers are better equipped to understand the role of specific marketing channels – in this instance, paid search activities – in relation to customer conversions, as they have a full view of where customers interacted with their business before purchase.
Step 2: Attribute
Once your customer data is integrated and providing a clearer picture of what your customers are doing, marketers must then look to accurately attribute the role of their paid search channels in customer conversions.
For this, a data-driven attribution model – defined as ‘accurately assigning value to each digital channel marketing touchpoint across the complete user journey’ – is key. This model uses advanced algorithmic modelling to help marketers understand the real value and cost associated with each of their marketing touchpoints.
With these insights, you can identify where marketing activity in a particular channel plays little to no role in driving conversions. Marketers can then drill down into their paid search channel, to understand which individual keywords are leading to these conversions.
With this in-depth view, and the granular data source from the Customer Data Platform, marketers gain a much more comprehensive understanding of which keywords are a drain on resources, and which are bringing in high ROI. With this knowledge, they can redistribute spend to help accelerate growth without a drop in leads.
Step 3: Operationalize
Once marketers have access to these insights, the final step in supercharging their paid search activities is being able to operationalize at scale and in real-time. A Customer Data Platform can integrate directly with bid management platforms – which are already great at optimizing and automating PPC campaigns – to boost their efforts.
The granular understanding of keyword performance, derived through the Customer Data Platform’s rich data and attribution modelling layer, is pushed directly into a bid management platform, like Kenshoo or Marin, to automatically optimize the algorithms that inform their bidding.
This data-driven approach, executed in an automated and frictionless way, helps marketers optimize their paid search channel at scale.
Once you have taken these steps to optimize your paid search channels, you can use your Customer Data Platform to tackle other priority channels – to reduce costs and boost ROI – simply by integrating that data source into your Customer Data Platform and applying the same data-driven attribution modelling.
Content produced in partnership with Fospha. Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Search Engine Watch.
This is Part 2 of my blog series on crafting and executing killer demand gen strategies.
In Part 1, I discussed building out various personas to target, as well as how to craft the right creative. Now let’s chat through how to actually target these personas!
Both Google Display Network and Facebook have great audience targeting capabilities that allow you to get in front of your target audiences and the personas you have built out. Full disclosure: I was planning to wrap the GDN and Facebook together for this post, but both have so many features that they warrant their own edition.
So let’s dive into how to target your personas and audiences on the GDN, and save Facebook for Part 3.
Keyword contextual targeting (KCT)
Keyword contextual targeting is where you bid on keywords and Google will match you to pages relevant to your terms. You’ll notice two options when it comes to KCT:
- Content – shows ads on relevant webpages, etc.
- Audience – with this option, the ad will show on relevant pages and to people who might be interested in these keywords (so basically you are giving Google more control to do its thing).
My recommendation is to start off with Content, because you know exactly what you are getting into; don’t give Google control right away and make it hard to understand true performance. Content will have a lot less reach, but you have full visibility into things. As you begin seeing results, you can always adjust accordingly.
My general recommendation is to start off with your top 10-15 performing search terms – and then, of course, layer on demographic age and gender information so you are getting in front of the most relevant eyes.
Additionally, think about the personas you developed. In Part 1, I gave the example of a persona that loved celebrity fashion and gossip; building terms around those interests to get onto those pages is another way to get in front of the right eyes.
Custom Affinity Audiences
With Custom Affinity Audiences, you can input domains and Google will look at the types of users visiting those domains – makeup, demographics, topics of sites they visit, etc. Then Google crafts an audience similar to those users, which you can target.
With Custom Affinity Audiences, I recommend creating different audiences to target based off of:
- Competitor domains
- Industry-relevant websites
- Persona-relevant websites (think of the personas you have created and the types of websites they would visit)
With In-Market Audiences, Google identifies people who are actively shopping for certain products and services. This is pretty clear-cut – choose In-Market Audiences relevant to your business.
Don’t forget to leverage the audience insights that Google gave you when developing your personas; those typically showcase other products/services that your core audience is typically in market for!
Refine your targeting to get closer to your target personas
For both KCT and In-Market Audiences, I recommend that you further refine your targeting by applying demographic layering onto those campaigns to get closer to your target personas. (With Custom Affinity Audiences, Google already incorporates demographic information from the data they pull as they analyze the audiences visiting the sites you enter.)
The above strategies are well worth testing out as you look to get in front of the right eyes and scale your business.
In part 3, we’ll dive into Facebook and how to best leverage its advanced targeting capabilities to get in front of your personas and target market!
Content marketing is a highly viable digital marketing strategy, designed to attract and drive traffic to your website or specific landing pages.
But you could be the best writer and still not attract qualified readers (or worse, any at all). The importance of an effective, attractive headline cannot be overstated.
Think of your audiences as hunters and gatherers. They’re constantly scanning and searching online for what they need. And most of the time they don’t find it.
A good headline that catches their attention and entices them to click through to read the rest solves their problem – and creates coveted lead generation opportunities for you.
Make headline writing (and perfection) a key component of your content marketing strategy. Follow these simple rules and you’ll appeal to audiences as well as search engines.
1. Use keywords
But just one. Including keywords in your headlines is important, as major search engines such as Google, Yahoo! and Bing will place more emphasis on the versus the content itself. It might be tempting to create a witty headline, but save it for print.
If it doesn’t contain any context about the blog’s main message, there’s a good chance it will get buried in your website – and certainly won’t be found by a search engine.
2. Appeal to emotions
According to Copyblogger, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest (sad, but true).
You have one chance to get your reader to click; using power words will help. The Headline Analyzer tool from CoSchedule recommends using a balance of common, uncommon, emotional and power words to captivate your audience. Phrases like “what happens when” and “you need to” compel readers to discover the benefit of the article.
Which brings us to…
3. Be clear – and avoid clickbait
You’re working so hard to build trust with your audience – through everything you do. Don’t ruin it with a misleading headline just to get people to read a piece of content.
Consider the headline of this article. It is direct and to the point, letting you know exactly what you’ll learn from reading the piece. Headlines that let readers know they will find a solution to their problems, learn how to do something or receive an answer to their question provide a known benefit.
A confusing or unclear headline, on the other hand, could result in a prospective reader exiting your page and moving onto the next search result because they didn’t find the information they were looking for, also known as a “bounce.” While Google may not use bounce rate as a ranking factor, it means that the user won’t be discovering any of the other great content that’s on your site, let alone converting or doing anything else there.
4. Know your audience
What type of information is your target audience likely to be searching for? The best headlines are ones your audience will find value in because they’re focused on their wants and needs.
There are formulas to help with this: (definition + guide to + action + keyword + promise). An example headline made using this guide could be: “A free guide to designing successful infographics for B2B companies“.
A list is often more compelling, because readers then have a clearer idea of what to expect. For example, “3 ways to attract more customers” or “5 healthy foods you should be eating for breakfast” lets readers know exactly what to expect from the article and delivers a benefit in a compelling manner. They also signal to readers whether they’re about to read a lengthy or brief article.
According to research by Outbrain, odd numbers attract on average a 20% higher click rate than even numbers, as the asymmetry makes them more likely to grab the reader’s attention.
6. Use words that captivate
In addition to strong keywords, using positive adjectives can also increase engagement. Try using words like “free,” “easy,” and “new” which generate more audience engagement. (Who doesn’t love free, easy and new information?)
Another best practice is to use phrases that suggest urgency, specificity and exclusivity, because readers want to get the “scoop” on information before anyone else.
7. Keep it short and sweet
Lastly, keeping the headline short enables your target audience to read the headline quickly, improving its chances of getting noticed before others. Email subject lines have their own specific guidelines too, but keep email in mind when crafting article headlines. If you’re sharing your blog posts via email newsletter, recipients will only see the first half of a sentence in the preview text.
The world of blogging is competitive, but search rankings make it easier for readers to find your content – and the answers they’re looking for.
Of course, the list above isn’t the holy grail of headline writing; there are additional strategies you might try in order to increase the effectiveness of your headlines, and in turn, improve your click-through rate and overall ROI. But you need to start somewhere.
Incorporate these practices into your regular blogging strategy, and you’ll start seeing more mileage from your content.
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