- The COVID-19 era dramatically impacted the world, and marketers are scrambling to adjust.
- If you want to stay on top of what’s going on in the marketing industry, you have to meet people where they are.
- Founder and CEO of Teknicks, Nick Chasinov, shares three marketing trends that can help businesses meet consumer demand and capitalize on the industry dynamics.
Today, marketing shifts happen without warning and seemingly overnight. The novel coronavirus caused the initial wave, and now the industry is impacted by the surf. People under stay-at-home orders are spending more time online, leading to Facebook traffic spikes, Google search adjustments, and the rise in popularity of social channels like TikTok. The COVID-19 era impacted the world, and marketers are scrambling to adjust.
Before the internet, changes in the marketing space occurred at a glacial pace. Marketers would develop best practices for the rare emergence of a new channel and stick to them for a long time. For example, TV induced the creation of video commercials in the late 1940s, but those advertisements remained mostly unchanged for decades.
However, the most successful marketing campaigns of all time leveraged new innovative marketing strategies. If you want to stay on top of what’s going on in the marketing industry, you have to meet people where they are. Here are three marketing trends that apply during the COVID-19 era:
1. Featured snippets
Search evolves quickly, and that’s made even more evident by how we’re searching amid the COVID-19 era. People have specific questions they want answers for, such as “Can I freeze milk?” or “Does X restaurant deliver?”. Because of this, featured snippets — boxed search results that appear at the top of the screen — are extremely coveted.
These spots provide instantaneous answers to user queries, and they provide more than a twofold increase in click-through rate, which means more traffic and potential leads than the piece that ranks in the coveted number-one position on the SERPs. Additionally, in a 2019 search algorithm update, Google announced that it would prioritize high-quality educational, authoritative, and trustworthy content over traditional SEO factors like keyword density. Marketing and advertising professionals need to be aware of how this trend will impact the industry moving forward.
If you want to land a featured snippet, create content that answers very specific questions relevant to your audience (especially questions for which the current featured snippet is held by a low-authority webpage). Definitions, tables, step-by-step types, and lists are the four most common types of featured snippets. If you’re wondering what people are looking for right now, check out current coronavirus-related search trends.
2. Mobile optimization
While quarantined, more and more people are turning to home delivery, video games, online shopping, and social media. Despite the economic downturn, retail jumped 34%, and large companies like Amazon are hiring more employees in order to keep up. The coronavirus is having a huge impact on ecommerce.
There are more mobile browsers than ever before, yet desktop conversion rates are almost double what they are on mobile platforms. Current events and Google’s 2018 decision to make site speed a factor in page rank underscore the urgency of a lightning-fast browsing experience. A site that takes just one second longer to load can reduce conversions by 7%, while sub-second load times boost conversion by 15% to 30%.
Now is the time to invest in a new mobile website built with user-friendly formats. Progressive web apps, for example, can give your brand’s website app-like speed, instant logins, and seamless page transitions. PWAs speed up the purchasing process when used in conjunction with accelerated mobile pages and server-side rendering. Not only will your customers have a better mobile experience, but they’ll also have a more pleasant time shopping.
2. Shoppable social
Since everyone began practising social distancing, social media has seen a huge uptick in traffic. In particular, Instagram has been buzzing with new trends like Dalgona coffee, house party, fitness videos, and more. If you’re a marketer for a small to midsize brand, you should consider creating shoppable posts to meet people where they are.
A few years ago, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms began enabling consumers to make in-app purchases by clicking a call to action in a post. In-app purchases allow social media users to buy products they’re interested in without ever leaving their feeds.
Marketers were initially sceptical about the strategy, but these posts are here to stay. One study showed that 72% of Instagram users have purchased something on the platform. This marketing technology trend is the lifeblood of influencers who monetize their personal styles and promote other brands. Next time you post a flat lay to Instagram, tag products from the share screen. Your customers will appreciate the easy access, and you’ll be able to collect data on your buyers, which you can use to create other targeted shoppable social posts.
If you’re not sure where to focus your marketing efforts amidst the COVID-19 era, start with one of these three trends. It’s time to meet consumer demand and capitalize on the growing momentum of these marketing methods.
Nick Chasinov is the founder and CEO of Teknicks, a research-based internet marketing agency certified by Google in Analytics, Tag Manager, and a Google Premier AdWords partner.
- Coronavirus and related quarantine measures led to an increase in online sales, the amount of video content consumed, and the time people spend on the internet in general.
- PPC ads are relevant more than ever.
- In this article, you’ll find the most common errors in contextual advertising and get practical recommendations on setting up effective PPC ads.
Coronavirus and related quarantine measures led to an increase in online sales, video content consumption, and the time people spent on the internet in general. That’s why PPC ads are more relevant than ever now for your business. Well crafted ads can be a great way to improve your conversion rate and profit.
In this article, you’ll find the most common errors in contextual advertising and get practical recommendations on setting up effective ads.
The most common errors when setting up ads
1. Contactless ads
Advertisements without contact information take up less space in SERP and lose to competitors’ ads due to the fact that they are less noticeable and informative.
2. Lack of quick links and favicon
This error leads to a decrease in traffic, CTR, and means that the ad budgets will rise.
3. Ads are not optimized for the Google Display Network
A search engine ad campaign is different from one shown on the Google Display Network. If you just copy ads, you’ll not get a good result.
The main difference between campaigns on the thematic sites and in search:
- Images are not displayed in search but on thematic sites, they must be added.
- Advertising on thematic sites should be more creative than in search. There are many different formats in GDN you can experiment with.
4. Lack of division into the industry and regional campaigns
Without this separation, you can waste the budget. Dividing the campaign, you’ll identify which industries or regions are more effective, which part of the campaign should get more attention and budget.
5. Improper structure of PPC ads campaigns
The campaign structure does not appear from scratch but is created on the basis of internet demand and customer market analysis (customer needs and requirements, product demand, and other such parameters).
For example, you can create the following groups from your PPC campaign: On a company brand, on general keywords, on regions, on types of the product, on promotions, and on competitors.
6. The site doesn’t load when clicked
Often, a campaign is running but a server is not configured to process the labels of advertising systems. Therefore, when you click on an ad, the site may not load.
How to set up an effective PPC ads campaign
Work with contextual advertising involves continuous analysis. Before launch, it’s an analysis of the target audience, the strengths and weaknesses of the product, the activities of competitors, and niche filling. Since the situation on the market is changing dynamically, before running an advertising campaign, you should carry out a direct analysis of contextual ads, their results, as well as competitors.
Before starting a PPC campaign
As I’ve already said, you should make a deep analysis before setting up your advertisements. You should learn:
1. The target audience
These are people whose attention you want to capture and convert them into buyers.
A specialist should understand their pains, determine triggers of influence, find out which style works best to communicate with them.
You can do it with the help of different polls and surveys among your clients, talking to your customer support team, and studying your competitors.
2. The product
How are you selling the product? How is it made? How is it different from competitors? What value does it create for buyers? What are its strengths and weaknesses? You should know answers to all these questions because it’ll be rather difficult to sell a product or service without them.
3. The niche
Each business has its specifics. It can be something more familiar to each of us (for example, retail, like Amazon) or something non-standard from B2B (business to business) sphere (for example, content marketing services). Study sites from given examples to see the difference between niches.
Therefore, before selling, you need to understand:
- Whom to sell to?
- How to sell?
- What difficulties could arise?
- What kind of competition you’re surrounded by?
4. Competitors’ ads
A strong competitor can appear at any second. So, you should not lose vigilance at any stage of contextual advertising. High competition always threatens high CPC (cost per click) and lower outreach.
To help an advertiser, there are a number of tools for monitoring the market and creating your successful PPC campaign or optimizing it. You can get the following information from them:
- The quality of the texts, relevance of the ad to the user’s request, benefits which it brings to the buyer.
- Keywords which are used in ads.
- What the landing page looks like if it’s able to convert visitors into buyers due to the unique selling proposition, and convenience of making the order.
- The dynamics of changes in the effectiveness of ads.
There are tons of tools on the market for this but from personal experience, I can share that one of the most popular and easy tools is Serpstat. Here you can find:
- Information about ads campaign entering only the domain of the competitor;
- Keywords and their volume
- Keywords competition
- Links to landing pages
- Main performance metrics
Basic checklist to set up an effective PPC ad campaign
A full checklist for setting up contextual advertising includes hundreds of points. Here, I’ve shared the minimum, most essential requirements that everyone can implement.
1. Separation of B2B and B2C (business to consumer) keywords. It’s a top-level of the structure. You need to study your audience segments in detail.
2. You should optimize ads for different devices. Campaign for mobile search should be a separate one with different keywords and settings.
3. You need to make good ads:
- Keywords in the title
- Qualifying words
- Keyword in the display link
- Keyword in the description
- Call to action
- Quick link with a keyword
4. To increase the effectiveness of your ad, I recommend using different ad extensions: Structured snippets, call, location, price extensions, and more.
5. For high and medium search volume keywords your campaign should be built on the principle – “one keyword = one ad”. Low search volume ones need to be grouped.
6. Launch campaign for near-niches. For example for car dealers, such niches will be car services, leasing, components, and other segments you may find relevant in this niche.
7. Limit budget for ineffective keywords, platforms, channels.
8. Work in GDN but filter platforms not to get rubbish traffic.
9. Try new instruments: ads in Gmail, such campaigns as call-only ads, local search ads, true view, and the others.
10. Use dynamic remarketing on incomplete activities, and abandoned baskets. It allows you to contact users who have already been on your site.
11. Use other promotion channels. One of the best schemes is: bring a new visitor with the help of PPC ad, return him/her to the site with the help of social networks remarketing, lead to a decision on the call or order after the third contact through MyTarget.
12. Remember that ads can be displayed at the wrong time for your company. For example, if you have a B2B offer, you should not spend budget at night or on weekends.
13. Fill in the list of negative keywords.
Analysis of your ads campaign
To estimate your contextual advertising you should use two tools: A site analytics system and Google Analytics or Google Ads.
To analyze your site and its traffic, you can use the Finteza tool. It’s a service that can provide you with information about your audience by 15 basic parameters such as visit sources, events, UTM parameters, page addresses, countries. Everything you need to do here is to filter data by parameters appropriate for your PPC campaign. As a result, you’ll get information in diagrams and funnels.
Indicators you should use to analyze the effectiveness of your advertising according to Google Analytics or Google Ads:
CTR (click through rate)
CTR should increase while CPC needs to decrease. If this doesn’t happen, your ads are of poor quality for this system and you should change your tactics.
CR (conversion rate)
It shows how many users from the ad made a targeted action on the landing page (made an order, left some request, signed up, or followed a link). This point should always increase.
The cost of attracting a customer who will make a purchase should always decrease.
Investments pay off if the indicator is more than zero. It’s great when it increases also.
CAC (customer acquisition cost)
You need to evaluate it to understand how much a new client costs you. Business is fine when this amount is less than the average bill.
LTV (customer lifetime value)
It shows how much money every customer brought to you from the first deal. The larger the number, the better it is for you.
To round up
At first glance, setting up contextual advertising may seem to be easy. In reality, it’s a continuous work with the analysis of your ads and competitors, the full niche. To create an effective campaign you need to have basic marketing knowledge and an analytical mindset.
Contextual advertising will bring profit only if it’s set up correctly and thought out in detail.
The post How to increase online sales in three easy steps through PPC ads appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
- In-home media consumption during the quarantine of March 2020, worldwide, shows that 35% are reading more books/listening to more audiobooks, and 44% are spending more time on social media.
- People are looking for education without getting slumped with an information overload. For example, LinkedIn professionals are going “live” to share data-driven and real insight with their audiences.
- On the other hand, people are looking to stay entertained and keep their minds in a good place during this time of change and are resorting to TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
- How can your brand support your audience and employees? How can you test different methods to motivate and encourage, showing that we’re all in this together?
- Lead digital PR strategist at Directive, Ashton Newell helps businesses create content types that can reach their people through.
- Observations, tips, and personal examples of content types and how her organization has performed in quarantimes.
No one planned for a global pandemic. How could you?
However, the performance marketers who were able to adjust quickly and provide support to their audience (in various ways) are reaping the benefits.
As you know, social media is a tool for people to connect and can be used to empower your brand. Now, it’s one of the few ways to stay connected virtually and build genuine relationships with your audience.
So, what are the winners doing? Here’s a look at the content types that are winning in “quarantimes”:
Think virtual marketing conferences, free online training courses, TikTok dances, business leaders live on LinkedIn, etc.
For those who are interested, continued education has become a way to keep productive and sane during this extra time at home.
According to Statista, in-home media consumption during the quarantine of March 2020, worldwide, shows that 35% are reading more books/listening to more audiobooks, and 44% are spending more time on social media.
Wait, social media….learning? It’s true. Gone are the days of social media just to mindlessly scroll.
For example, LinkedIn professionals are going “live” to share data-driven and real insight with their audiences. This gives them a platform to address what’s happening, share how they’re adjusting, and be vulnerable with their followers.
For example, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs, Ann Handley, puts together “a pop-up twice-weekly video show about coping with COVID-19, business, and life” on her LinkedIn profile.
Source: Screenshot from Ann Handley on LinkedIn
Additionally, sharing helpful content is important. However, people may not be as open to read a long whitepaper right now.
How can you provide support and empathy, without being too focused on quarantine that it bums out your reader?
Give them a game plan to succeed during this time.
Source: Screenshot from @thefuturishere on Instagram
The Instagram post above shares 10 quality design slides, actionable tips with real tools the audience can use to add to their WFH set-up, and a strong call-to-action for the reader to leave their favourite tools, so others continue to learn.
A different route
For others, they might not be looking to learn new business skills during this time. Instead, people are looking to stay entertained and keep their minds in a good place during this time of change.
According to Vox, people are turning to Instagram and TikTok to learn how to make Dalgona coffee (whipped coffee) and baking bread. The word “bread” even hit an “all-time high” on Google searches, according to Eater.
Additionally, TikTok videos are now a way that families can learn dances and bond together, according to CNN.
According to the article, TikTok offers various COVID-19 resources for families to engage in positive ways. A nightly series called #HappyAtHome features top creators who share advice, motivation, and more. Educational live streams are also available throughout the popular app.
So, as marketers, why do we care?
As you’re crafting content for social media, what can you share that is educational in some way?
How can you share easily digestible content that leaves the audience taking something new away from it?
- The whipped coffee recipe has three ingredients, and it went viral.
- You don’t need professional equipment to create TikTok videos.
- To go live on LinkedIn, Instagram, or Facebook, you don’t need any equipment. Simply hit “Go Live”.
- You can create free infographics with impressive data using Canva.
Overall, listen to your audience. Find what they need during this time.
Give them something they can learn.
Think mental health advocates going live, empathetic stories shared by brands, support for hospitals, charity work.
While your audience may be open to learning, many people are feeling low right now.
Job security may be lost, kids may be home from school, the weather may be depressing, a family member may be sick – this may not be the time your audience wants to pick up a new business book or create something new.
So, how can your brand support them? How can you test different methods to motivate and encourage, showing that we’re all in this together?
It might sound crazy, but you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars and make a brand new campaign to reach your people.
Check out this Instagram post from Hubspot that received incredible engagement (their highest of the week) by sharing motivational words that resonate with their audience of marketers and sales specialists looking to grow their businesses.
Screenshot from Hubspot’s Instagram
Additionally, companies are doing big things to support mental health.
According to an article on CNN, the Disaster Distress Helpline, a federal crisis hotline operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, calls in March have gone up by more than 300%, compared to February. Compared to March of last year, the hotline has seen 891% more calls, according to the article.
At Directive, we wanted to support our team and clients during this time by providing “motivation through movement”. As an E-RYT certified yoga instructor, through YouTube Live, I was able to teach a class for our people to get moving, focus on their breath, and keep their wellness a priority through these challenging times.
It was incredibly encouraging to hear feedback that both parties enjoyed the class and felt better, and I was thankful to share my love of the yoga practice with them all.
We highlighted this on social media to encourage other companies to try something similar, as well.
Screenshot from Directive on Instagram
Additionally, companies like Salesforce are utilizing social media to build a schedule around guided meditation, conversations with health and wellness experts, and being present.
Screenshot from Salesforce on LinkedIn
Additionally, companies like Headspace provide motivational (and educational) content on Instagram on how followers can make “no-sew masks from home”. This can help motivate people to stay healthy, even if they don’t have new income coming in.
Source: @headspace on Instagram
While bringing in new income is essential to your business, right now, it’s imperative to put your brand and culture first. People will remember how you made them feel.
Show sentiment to your audience, and make sure it’s authentic. Your actions should be more powerful than your words.
After you find a rhythm that works for your social content, make sure that what you’re sharing is resonating with your audience. We are marketers, and our audience shows us what they like and don’t like through the data.
According to Janet Balis’s article on Harvard Business Review:
“Frequent tracking of human behavioural trends will help marketers gain better insights in real-time. Marketers will want to measure sentiment and consumption trends on a regular basis to better adapt messaging, closely observing the conversation across social media platforms, community sites, and e-commerce product pages to look for opportunities and identify looming crises more quickly.”
Be there for your audience. Mean it. Track it.
3. Building a virtual community
Think Zoom happy hours, live Instagram workouts, Instagram challenges, community support, real images from working from home.
Without your community, life can seem a little duller. Luckily, technology has your back and helps you see your colleagues and loved ones as much as you’d like to.
For some, this has been the key to working remotely and showing up every day.
From experience, the Directive team has all Zoom meetings with the cameras on, to see teammates’ faces, and to have “real” conversations and connections.
Source: Image from Directive
Sharing a real image (like the one above) on social media shows your team coming together and the power of your community.
Additionally, Directive was excited to participate in a #ShowUsYourWorkspace social media challenge. It was encouraging to see the team share their spaces, show their furry friends, and how they’re adapting into their everyday work lives.
They also tagged other companies to “share their spaces” to carry on the challenge as well.
Here is one of the examples
Source: Image from @directiveconsulting on Instagram
Building community with your audience, adjusting to working from home, and showing how you’re sticking together behind the scenes is impactful.
Show your followers how you are doing it and continue to do it. Also, find creative ways to keep your followers engaged.
We’re all in this together
While the world continues to feel a little different, you can educate, motivate, and build your community to encourage your audience to push through and stay on their feet.
You have the tools you need, it’s your time to create winning content for your audience.
Ashton Newell is the lead digital PR strategist at Directive, a performance marketing agency specialized in the software space. When Ashton is away from her day job, she spends her time teaching yoga, cheering on the ASU Sun Devils, and drinking numerous cups of coffee. She can be found on Twitter @ashtonmeisner.
The post Why these three content types are winning quarantine season appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Omnichannel advertising can be complicated. Digital marketers today have an unlimited number of tools at their disposal to get their message in front of the right audience through search advertising and others. While your channels or tactics may change, the goal of all marketers remains the same – to grow your brand and build your business.
But how do you know which channel or channels to use to achieve these goals? Many marketers with smaller advertising budgets start with paid search as the first channel to target, because of the simplicity of setting up a PPC campaign in Google Ads. There are no creative assets or media buyer required, and no fancy technology to learn or understand. Search also has advanced targeting abilities, offering companies the chance to get in front of in-market shoppers the minute they start their search. And the results of search campaigns are quantifiable, with insights into exactly which terms are resonating most.
Programmatic display advertising, on the other hand, can be a bit more difficult for some marketers to get started with. This channel has traditionally been considered best for brand awareness campaigns, as display ads can appear virtually anywhere your potential customers are online. Taking advantage of display requires either a direct relationship with a demand-side platform, or DSP, or a relationship with an agency to manage the campaigns on your behalf.
But choosing the right mix of channels for your advertising campaign doesn’t need to be an all or nothing affair. In fact, combining display and search together can have a positive impact on your return on ad spend (ROAS).
Here are three strategies to effectively combine search and display advertising for maximum results:
1. Cast a wide net
If you’re looking to find more new customers and don’t have a ton of traffic on your existing site or searching for keywords you’re targeting with search, the first step is getting more site visitors. This is where programmatic display advertising comes in handy — it offers a scale that paid search campaigns can’t, at a better price point. If you have a big promotion coming up in a few months, it’s a good idea to increase spending on brand awareness tactics well in advance, in order to have larger retargeting and lookalike pools ready to go when your promotion is ready to launch. So start by casting a wide net with display, and then continue to adjust and refine your targeting parameters as time goes by to optimize performance and find your next best customer.
Once you have brought all these new visitors to your site, it’s time to introduce cross-platform retargeting. For example, if you are running a paid search campaign for sneakers and roughly only 13% of this paid search traffic becomes a paying customer, that leaves another 87% of the audience you already paid for who abandoned the site without ever converting. Now that they have already visited your site, you can use retargeting to show them a new series of messages in the hopes of bringing them back to continue further down the sales funnel. Your specific retargeting tactics can be simple or sophisticated, but the bottom line is that they will help keep the conversation going with the visitors most likely to convert down the road.
3. Contextual targeting
If you have already identified your best-performing keywords from your search campaigns, you can use this same keyword list to add contextual targeting to your programmatic campaign. While this strategy doesn’t directly link the two channels, it does allow you to further refine your audience targets. For example, if “athletic shoes” is something that a lot of people are searching for and is driving people to your site, you could create an “athletic” contextual segment to target with display advertising.
Each of these tactics are a great way to build awareness for your brand and products right when your prospects are actively shopping, and a great way to complement ongoing search activity. If you already rely heavily on paid search for a large part of your advertising, consider adding display, along with some targeting strategies to increase the efficiency of your campaigns and decrease your cost per acquisition.
Jason Wulfsohn is Co-Founder and COO of AUDIENCEX, a programmatic advertising and trading desk.
The post Display and search advertising: Top three strategies to expand your audience across channels appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
A few years ago, I hosted a podcast called ‘Ask Amanda About Marketing’. It ran for 30 episodes before going on a hiatus for over a year. Now, I’m relaunching it under a new name and with a more focused goal, and I’ve been reflecting on what I learned during the first go-around and the podcast tips I’ve acquired while getting ready to publish this next iteration.
Here are my biggest takeaways.
1. Have a narrow focus
I explained that ‘Ask Amanda About Marketing’ involved me (and sometimes guests) answering various questions people had about digital marketing.
The first thing he said? Narrow your focus.
There are hundreds of marketing podcasts out there, so in order to provide value that isn’t duplicative of what people can already access, you have to hone in your objective. Who exactly do you plan to help, and how exactly do you plan to help them?
He had a point. While I loved the first iteration of the show, it was topically scattered, and I knew we could benefit from honing in our purpose.
We landed on ‘Cashing in on content marketing’, a show all about proving content marketing ROI and getting buy-in.
Armed with a narrow focus, it was time to book guests.
2. Don’t hide behind the mic
It’s convenient to be able to podcast from home and have conversations with incredibly smart people all over the world through Zoom or Skype or some other platform.
But don’t forget to attend in-person events. While you can cold-pitch people (and we certainly have), you can build much better connections when you meet people in the real world.
Of the first 11 people I have booked to be guests on the show, seven of them are people I met in the last year at marketing events.
Because when you meet people in person, you’re forming a much stronger connection than people you sometimes interact with online. There’s still value in online interactions, of course, but nothing surpasses good ol’ fashioned IRL (in real life) meeting.
If you don’t have a lot of event budget, many conferences have free or cheap community passes, like Inbound. Also, check for local events; some companies host events and meetups in their cities, and these community connections can be just as important. For example, Orbit Media hosts affordable monthly events in Chicago.
3. Do your research
Once you book guests, it’s time to figure out what you’ll talk about.
My personal style is to keep it conversational, but you still need to set up a framework of questions so you make sure the chatting stays on-topic and that your guest feels guided through the conversation.
I generally have at least five questions that shape the direction of what I want to talk about. If the person has written blog posts, books, or conference presentations that are relevant, I read those and ask questions that refer to those materials.
Not sure if these materials exist? Ask them in advance.
Give them an idea of what you want to talk about, but allow them to switch up the angle based on what they’re passionate about and have expertise in.
For example, when talking to Mark Schaefer before having him on the show, I told him we could talk about his newest book “Marketing Rebellion,” but he suggested focusing on “The Content Code” since it might be more in line with the podcast’s goals.
When you touch base before the show, you’re able to establish directions that are better for your audience. And you can prepare accordingly. I brushed up on both books and asked questions about referencing material from them.
As a result, Mark said,
“Thank you so much for reading my books and being so well-prepared with your questions – it was a pleasure.”
Don’t underestimate how much prepping for the interview can set you up for success. You want your questions to be different from everyone else’s, otherwise, you’ll end up with a show that doesn’t stand out.
If you follow this advice – focus and differentiate your podcast’s mission, meet marketing professions IRL, and go above and beyond when preparing for interviews – you’ll be setting a solid foundation for your podcasting endeavor.
But most importantly – Keep your audience in mind. You’re not creating this for yourself, or your company, or your guests. You’re creating it to help, inspire, or inform your listeners. Don’t lose sight of that, and you’ll continue making the ideal decisions for your show.
Amanda Milligan is the Marketing Director at Fractl, a prominent growth marketing agency that’s worked with Fortune 500 companies and boutique businesses.
The post Three crucial podcast tips from Fractl’s Marketing Director appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
The internet has transformed the way we view and experience the world. Nowadays, we use it for virtually everything, from making a phone call to paying off our credit card bill. Smartphones have revolutionized how we shop and do business. With them, we can interact and socialize with people from around the world using Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, and so on.
From personal experience, I can tell you that I would have never guessed that my smartphone would become a priority for me. I remember thinking that Blackberry pin-to-pin messaging was a disease. Now, I can spend hours upon hours browsing idly through my Instagram feed. Well, the joke’s on me, right?
The same goes for businesses. Most were limited to operating from a storefront or office, and they could only rely on printed or TV ads, and local networking to get customers. Today, however, the world is any business’ oyster. And digital marketing is the magic wand that makes it possible. But that doesn’t mean that it’s easy.
Digital marketers are facing new challenges every year. The interaction between businesses and prospects or customers is evolving as new devices, apps, and social media platforms become available.
The end of the decade brought the time, to sum up, what this ever-changing industry has in store for 2020.
Here are three marketing trends to keep an eye on this year.
1. Paid voice search
Voice search advertising has been on most marketers’ radars for a while now. However, the use of smart speakers and voice assistants has gained momentum in the last couple of years.
So, adopting digital marketing strategies to increase your businesses’ presence in voice searches will soon become a necessity:
- In 2019, Amazon claimed to have sold more than 100 million Alexa devices, while Google predicts that Google Assistant will soon reach one billion devices.
- At least 20% of mobile searches are made using voice assistants.
- It’s predicted that 50% of all searches will be voice-based this year.
And don’t forget about the benefits of paid voice search for local businesses and ecommerce sites:
- 75% of people who own a smart speaker perform a search for a local business weekly and 53% of them do it every day.
- More than 20% of voice-based orders are for groceries.
- Voice-based purchases are expected to increment to $ 40 billion in 2022.
Source for the above-mentioned stats: QuoraCreative
But how can your business take advantage of this new advertising niche?
By establishing a solid strategy for voice engine optimization. To get ahead of the game, you need to understand how your audience asks questions. Check out the details below.
- Adapt the tone of your written content: Question words are widespread among search queries. That is, How, When, Who, Where, When, and Why. Most people use question-based keywords when implementing voice search. So, adding these words to your written content can put you in the spotlight quickly.
- Focus on long-tail keywords: When asking smart speakers and voice assistant questions, users tend to speak naturally. That’s why voice searches tend to be more specific. Instead of using “cheap hotel in Vermont,” a person would search for “What is the cheapest four-star hotel in Vermont?” – using long-tail keywords will allow you to rank better for voice searches.
- Use Schema Markup: This lets you contextualize your content and helps search engines understand exactly what your content is about.
Guy Sheetrit, CEO and Co-founder of Over the Top SEO, predicted the increasing importance of voice searches last year.
When asked about SEO trends for the near future in an interview for Brandwatch, he mentioned that,
“The combined growth of voice search and the ability of Google to deliver a specific answer to a search query… is going to have a significant impact on how much exposure your website gets.”
This has been slowly but surely turned into a reality. And the ever-growing popularity of smart speakers will just make it more prevalent as time goes by.
2. Interactive content
We’ve all heard the saying “Content is King”. And yes, informative blog posts, killer copy, or social media posts should continue to be key parts of your content marketing strategy. However, they are slowly being outpaced by interactive content. And it makes sense.
In a world where we are bombarded by information right, left, and center, audiences have become more and more demanding about the type of content they’re willing to consume. They expect content to be engaging, relevant, and accessible via any device they use. And they expect this 100% of the time.
I asked Shreetit about the impact of interactive content to which he said,
“If you’re not optimizing your digital marketing strategy with interactive content, then you’re already losing customers.”
“For any business to succeed in 2020, it needs to keep up with what users are craving. And interactive content is one of the most innovative ways to consume information.”
We’ve been using interactive content for a while. Think about online quizzes, surveys, and social games.
However, as technology advances, so does the way users want to experience the world. Investing time and money on incorporating interactive formats to your digital marketing strategy can have tremendous payoffs. To do so, include some interactive infographics, white papers, case studies, or ebooks.
But why is interactive content a trend for the start of the new decade? Why should you invest in interactive content now?
- For starters, it’s proven to positively impact KPIs. Interactive content helps increase brand awareness and its connection with users by way of branded experiences.
- Because it is immersive. Prospects engaging with a brand through interactive content tend to spend more time on a business’s website.
- It also increases page views, boosting engaging metrics, increasing time on site, and decreasing bounce rates.
Not sold on it just yet? Check out these figures:
- Interactive content generates double the conversions when compared to passive content.
- Over 90% of B2B prospects prefer interactive content over static content.
- It is 93% more effective than static content.
In the era 2.0, where the average users’ attention span is eight seconds or less, keeping potential customers engaged may seem like a herculean task. Consumers are exposed to so much branded content that it can be nearly impossible to stand out from your competitors.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be. Planning and implementing an interactive content strategy can help you cross that bridge, effectively closing the gap between traffic to your site and conversions.
3. TikTok advertising
TikTok is not new. However, its increasing popularity is. It was launched into the international market in 2017 and last year it took over musical.ly. A smart move that eased its way into the American teen and tween market.
But what exactly is this social app about?
The concept is rather simple. Users can create short videos and edit them to add filters, effects, and other features. They can then share them on TikTok’s platform or other social media.
And believe me, this single concept has taken the social-media-sphere by storm:
- In October 2018, it was the most downloaded app on both Apple and Google’s app stores, surpassing Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube worldwide.
- It was downloaded by 188 Million users globally in the first quarter of 2019. This represents a 70% growth from the previous year.
- It currently has over 500 million active users worldwide.
- 66% of users are under 30 years old and 40% of them are between 25 and 30.
- It’s available in 75 languages and 150 countries.
The outreach potential for this app is enormous. If you want to benefit from what TikTok has to offer, I suggest you consider the following tactics.
Create a brand TikTok account
If you create a brand account, you can take advantage of hashtag challenges. These are hugely popular within the platform and will give you a chance to leverage user-generated content. This type of content has become invaluable in today’s marketing world and it’s a nearly foolproof way to reach your audience. Not to mention TikTok’s format has a huge potential for virality. Another way to increase your brand’s presence is by utilizing branded lenses. They are the equivalent of Snapchat or Instagram’s 3D filters. With TikTok, your brand can also create posts with 2D and Augmented Reality (AR). These filters bring a significant level of user engagement by letting your audience actively interact with your products.
Partner with an influencer – someone who already has an established audience
In this case, you need to make sure their demographic and type of content coincide with your target audience and brand. You also must evaluate their engagement metrics to ensure a successful partnership.
Use its paid advertising features
TikTok introduced its biddable ads feature earlier this year and it currently only has one ad type – the in-feed video ad. The platform allows you to target these ads by age, gender, and geographic location (to state level). And, the developer has stated that more granular segmentation will be available soon. You can also create customized audiences by manually adding a CRM list, and whitelist or blacklist specific audiences as well.“As soon as I realized the potential TikTok had, I knew it was an app that could add enormous value to any marketing strategy” Shared Guy. “I wouldn’t be surprised if TikTok changes the digital marketing world entirely and end ups displacing Snapchat.”He also said it was a sure-shot way to gain some track within the teenager and college-age demographic. If they’re your target audience, this is your shortcut to boost your exposure.
To sum it all up…
Keeping up with the ever-evolving digital marketing industry is no easy feat. Things tend to change at the drop of a hat. However, if you stay up-to-date with trends and follow what the experts are buzzing about, you can stay on top of your business’ digital marketing strategy. Adapting it to the shifting online environment to benefit your brand is key to stay ahead of your competitors.
The post Three digital marketing trends you can’t miss in 2020 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
As inbound marketing continues to be a dominant force, you’ve likely heard the phrase “content is king” more times than you can count. But getting the right message to the right person is not an easy task in a society that’s tangled in a web of digital content, and it requires a top-notch content strategy.
A solid content strategy can help create meaningful, cohesive, engaging and sustainable content that attracts new customers and retains existing ones. Despite the importance that great content can have on your business, two of the biggest challenges for content marketers are knowing how to prioritize marketing efforts for one audience over another and communicating a content strategy effectively across teams so that everyone is on the same page.
Content marketing is different than your typical product marketing efforts as it includes digital materials that answer specific questions and provides customers with valuable tools and information they aren’t getting anywhere else. These include:
- Educational articles
- Social media
Planning a content calendar that includes every item on this list may seem daunting, but there are simple ways to get started.
The idea behind smart content planning is simple. You want to plan content in a way that is:
- Tied to an overarching business objective
- Linked directly to audience needs and desires
- Can be shared in a simple and consistent format
The result is a content calendar that is more relevant to what people are searching for and is also differentiated from the competition. Today, smart content planning tools that use artificial intelligence are becoming more readily available and are making adopting this process a no-brainer.
While a Google search will yield a laundry list of best practices, the following three pillars – or fundamental building blocks – will help you create a successful content strategy that drives results.
Plan content to meet business needs
To be truly effective, all content needs to be anchored to a clear business objective. Why? Because if it doesn’t, there’s no way for you to measurably show that it impacts the company’s growth. You may be nodding your head that yes, of course, it makes sense to plan content with the business objective in mind. But, how do we do that in a way that is meaningful and simple?
You can start by picking an upcoming marketing initiative and stating the quantitative business goal, the intended audience and the competitive context for that initiative. Treating a business objective statement as a template that must be completed for each marketing initiative helps you to face the ambiguity and misalignment that may be bouncing around your organization. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect – the power comes from thinking about what matters most and then pressing forward with your best judgment.
Understand your audience
Once you’ve created an objective statement, your entire team can focus on the true reason behind producing content in the first place: your audience. It’s easy to get caught in the whirlwind of day-to-day tasks. In that moment of desperation, marketers make a choice between creating content the right way and simply getting content out the door. In reality, content is the very first glimpse of a brand that customers see and first impressions matter. Not only is content your front runner for garnering new customers, but it guides customers through every stage of the buyer journey including initial sale and retention.
A recent survey showed that 70% of consumers feel closer to a company as a result of content marketing. However, this is only possible when you understand your audience at a deep level so that the content you create answers the questions they have, helps them do their job more effectively, inspires, or entertains them.
Understanding your target audience’s needs and desires requires the right tools. One way to make sure your content is helping the customer is to build – and then reference – personas when creating content. The modern marketer has access to content intelligence tools that provide key insights to help choose which topics to share, what channels to use and when to go live during the buyer journey. Using multiple data points like CRM, search data, the website traffic, and social listening can diminish false assumptions about your target audience and provide insights on:
- Targetable characteristics
- Customer journey
- Needs and desires
- Perceptions of our strengths vs. competition
- Content format preferences
- Marketing channels where our audience hangs out
- Past content performance
Align your team with the strategy
We know inconsistent external messaging can lead to brand confusion, which in turn leads to a decrease in brand loyalty. The same happens with confusing internal communication. It causes internal teams to lose sight of business goals. The childhood phrase “sharing is caring” is applicable to small and large businesses. When your content strategy is shared within your organization, it will drive alignment across your company and create a stronger brand. As an added bonus, when your team members understand what you do and how you do it, it’s natural for them to see you as a leader.
Once your team understands the “Why?” behind your content strategy, it’s important to create a central location for your content planning to live. Having all content in one spot can make your content more likely to be tied to overarching business objectives, and overall, it’s easier for all departments to align their internal activities with the overall business objectives.
Planning effective content is hard and takes time, but don’t give up! The first step to improve your content planning process is to recognize that smarter content makes a big impact. Remember, smart content starts with an objective statement, audience insight, and a clearly communicated plan. When you take the time to research and outline your audience’s needs and desires, your content will thank you and so will your audience.
Documenting your content marketing strategy gives you the ability to communicate the importance of your content across departments, increase engagement levels with target audiences and create better alignment around customers and marketing priorities. Moving toward smart content planning can add that special ‘something’ to your organization. Let your content strategy be your competitive advantage.
Bart Frischknecht is the vice president of product strategy at Vennli, a content intelligence platform for marketers.
The post The three pillars behind every successful content strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
By next year, comScore expects that 50 percent of all searches will be voice searches. And of course, it won’t stop there. A decade from now, it’s not unreasonable to think that nine out of 10 searches will be via voice, and at that point, a lot about what we know about best practices in digital marketing will have shifted.
After all, in the world of voice search, simply getting onto the search engine results page becomes insufficient. What brands need is to find their way into what’s become known as the “zero position”—that singular best response generated by a voice assistant in regards to a natural language query.
Most marketers are watching the ascent of voice search with obvious interest, but few are sure exactly what they should be doing as this brave new world unfolds before their eyes. The good news is that there are very concrete steps that can be taken right now to better position brands for the voice-dominated future. If you focus on the following three fundamentals today, you’re going to be in strong shape tomorrow.
Optimize according to Schema
Schema represents a foundational means of ensuring your online content can be found and understood by web crawlers and properly ingested by the major search engines’ algorithms. This is true today, and it will be true tomorrow. Unfortunately, given the ever-increasing complexity of the marketing technology landscape these days, too many marketers have lost site of this important priority. To succeed—or even survive—in the world of voice search, the schema need to be a top digital marketing priority.
In the most basic sense, schema is an agreed-upon structure for how online content should be organized in order to best be understood by search engines. The major search players of the world have codified the best practices of engagement via Schema.org, a joint effort focused on creating and maintaining schemas for structuring online data. These days, optimizing web pages with schema is a critical first step to succeeding in organic search.
The beauty of Schema.org is that it’s supported by all of the major search engines, and these are precisely the companies that are currently writing the future of voice search. We can expect to see similar structures dictating voice search results as we do in the currently established schema. Thus, best practices for site optimization today will remain the best practices for the future. However, neglecting these best practices in a world where the zero position can make or break a brand will become all the more vital.
Focus on featured snippets
Google’s Featured Snippets aren’t new, but they’re far more important in the world of voice search than in traditional web SEO. Featured snippets are designed to help people answer questions quickly in a way that naturally aligns with how people search with their voices. In other words, it rewards content that presents information in an obvious Q&A format versus being optimized for keyword searches.
To improve your chances of reaching the zero position for a given query, structure your content for featured snippets. In a blog post, for example, this might mean asking a question in the opening paragraph and ensuring it is answered in that same paragraph in 50 words or fewer.
Sure, the blog post can go on to discuss the subject in much more detail. But what a voice search engine will care about is being able to answer a user’s question in a succinct, straightforward way. Give them the questions and answers they crave.
Get your profiles under control
In preparing your brand and its digital assets for a voice-driven world, don’t forget about your third-party digital profiles. Again, this is a best practice in the search world today, but it’s going to become even more necessary for survival in a future dominated by voice search. After all, when people search for information relevant to your business, there’s a good chance the first place the search engine turns won’t be your website.
It will be a third-party profile that succinctly describes your business and, in particular, the details of nearby locations. After all, voice assistants powered by companies like Google also have their own business listings for your locations—and they’re highly likely to turn to those first when providing information back to users.
If your business information is inaccurate or outdated in your third-party profiles, reaching the zero position in a voice search with that information could be more harmful to your brand than not being found at all. So as you think through your digital strategy for a voice-driven world, be sure to get back to basics. Structure your content correctly. Give vs the answers they want. And above all, make sure your information is updated and accurate anywhere the algorithms might find it.
Bart Bartolozzi is Director of Product Marketing at Synup, a location intelligence tool that helps businesses with their local marketing, discovery, and engagement.
The post Voice search ascending: Three areas that require your attention right now appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
The holiday season is quickly approaching with the start of Q4, which means an increase in consumer demand and more competition in the paid media space. Shoppers are looking to find the next big thing and anticipate enticing deals during the holiday season, especially during the Cyber weekend.
Users will be researching on many devices and platforms and will be considering competitors before purchasing, especially for higher-priced items.
Many companies will feature different offers throughout the season, testing different messaging and creative is important to help entice a user to convert. We should test this throughout the year, but early Q4 is a prime testing time. Once winners are proven, advertisers should align the messaging across all platforms. In this post, I’ll discuss best practices for testing and messaging dissemination across Facebook, Instagram, and Google.
Offer discounts in retargeting campaigns
One of the strongest audiences to test is with retargeting audiences. These users have shown some type of interest and intent in your product or service and should be exposed to a variety of creative and messaging enticing them to come back to your site.
One of the most popular ways companies try to lure users back to the site is with discounts for consumers who recently visited the site. I recommend testing this messaging against more general “come back to the site” ads and keeping a close eye on CPA and ROAS to understand the discount’s overall impact on margin.
Some important notes when testing messaging to retargeting audiences: be sure to exclude recent converters (no one likes to get an ad for something that they just purchased). Do not advertise to users who visited the site a long time ago and if you are advertising to lapsed users, wait a few days for them to come back to the site to purchase before offering a deal.
Test non-discount messaging and imagery
For some businesses, offering discounts to bring users back to the site might not be profitable. If that sounds familiar, don’t let it stop you from building and testing new creative and messaging. Some ideas for additional creative and messaging testing on Facebook and Instagram are testimonials or reviews of top products, product use cases/anecdotes, and talking about the problems or issues that your product solves (if applicable).
Other considerations include testing just an image of the product against an image of a consumer using the product. If you are a company that offers seasonal products or has an upcoming product release, showcasing those products to loyal purchasers – maybe even offering an exclusive on pre-sales – can help to increase product sales on new releases.
Make sure your messaging spans platforms
Your audiences don’t limit themselves to one advertising platform, so your messaging should follow suit and be consistent wherever your ads appear. On Google, make sure that ad copy, keywords, and extensions are up to date with current products. If you are running special messaging to lapsed buyers or site visitors who didn’t purchase, you might also consider creating RLSA-only campaigns to target these users with the same messaging or offer that they are seeing on other sites or in their email.
If you are offering a discount that should be prominent in your Facebook and Instagram ads, there are a few components to test, namely whether you should put the discount messaging directly on the creative or mention it in the copy (either in the headline or text).
If you’re selling a product with a high price point, testing Dynamic Product Ads vs. single-image or carousel ads can also be valuable in retargeting efforts, since you can increase the relevancy of products shown to the user.
With the start of Q4 upon us, you’ll need to move fast to capture increased user demand and battle increased competition and higher bids. Creative and messaging testing should occur in early Q4 so that learnings can be applied to the more competitive times, like Cyber weekend, through mid-December.
Spying on your competitors’ marketing efforts is one of the most efficient ways to come up with your our marketing campaigns, learn new tactics as well as predict the future of your niche.
The powerful driving source of any business is its competition. Competitors force us to move forward, implement changes and evolve.
I am not a big fan of competitive research unless you use the data right away to create your own marketing plan. Furthermore, I like plans that are pretty quickly turned into reality. I like action, so here are three competitive research tools that provide highly actionable insights:
1. Spy on your competitor’s traffic
Haven’t you wanted to know where exactly your competitors’ traffic and sales are coming from. Or how their landing pages convert? Or what are their best-performing keywords?
Nacho Analytics is a unique and innovative tool that will help you find answers to all the above questions and more. It uses its own database of “millions” of people who agreed to share their browsing history with the tool to help you spy on how they find and interact with your competitors’ pages.
Now, the most important part about the tool is that domain monitoring starts only when you add it to the tool. There’s no historical data available until you start monitoring any domain, so the earlier to add your competitors, the more data you’ll end up accumulating, with time.
Now, what sort of data is it?
Nacho Analytics looks exactly as Google Analytics, so you’ll see all the reports there. The difference is, there’s no tracking code to install and that’s not your site you are tracking, which sounds even too good to be true, only it’s both good and real. Some of the competitive insights you’ll be able to obtain include:
- Traffic sources (including conversions, page engagement metrics, etc. for each)
- Lead sources
- Conversion funnel analysis
You can also share any data with anyone for free, similarly to how it works inside Google Analytics.
Nacho Analytics cheapest package is $ 39 and it allows you to track one competitor. For $ 79 a month, you’ll be able to monitor five competitors of yours.
2. Spy on your competitor’s backlinks
Ok, this one isn’t new: Monitoring competitors’ backlink acquisition methods help you create your own link building strategy as well as learn what not to do and how to avoid penalties.
But until now that was a pretty expensive and time-consuming process. Unless it’s your own site you are investigating, you had to pay for link research tools. And if you were dealing with a successful competitor, you had to go through thousands of lines before realizing how to sort and filter them to make sense of the data.
Therefore, I was pretty excited to discover this new backlink checker tool by Neil Patel which is free, available for use without the need to register and extremely usable.
Simply copy-paste your competitor’s domain and the tool will generate the list of backlinks including:
- The referring page title and URL
- The target page URL
- The link anchor text and type (text and image)
Now, there’s also a domain and link scores available but since I am not a fan of any link scoring (to put it mildly), I ignore those for the most part. Yet, if you come to think of those, you can actually use these numbers for sorting purposes. So, unless you miss a good link because of that, they might turn useful.
The advanced filtering is where the tool really shines. They make it so much easier to filter backlinks by identified patterns, including/excluding:
- Keywords in the anchor text
- Words in the URL
Finally, you can easily export the whole list in a CSV file to keep playing with the data.
Again, this tool is absolutely free, with no registration required.
3. Spy on your own missed keyword opportunities
This, again, is not such an innovative tactic but it’s the format and the tool that can make all the difference.
The best way to improve and diversify your rankings is to expand the list of keywords you are targeting, and the easiest way to discover new keywords is to see what your competitors are ranking for.
“Keyword gap” tactic is about identifying queries one or more of your competitors’ domains is ranking fairly high, while yours is nowhere to be found.
This Domain vs Domain tool takes this tactic to a new level:
- It suggests competing domains for you to analyze
- It generates a handy venn diagram showing how close the selected competitors are and how many more opportunities you can explore. The venn graphic is clickable allowing you to instantly load the keyword lists based on the overlap:
The tool also shows current rankings of each domain for each query, as well as its recent movement. The latter should be a signal for you to go ahead and check what they possibly did recently to see the ranking change.
The chart also shows Google search volume for each query. However, sadly, you cannot sort results by it. You can export the whole chart to a CSV or Excel file to obtain more sorting and filtering flexibility.
You can also select a search engine for the analysis which is a pretty amazing feature. I find it absolutely invaluable when clients are trying to enter a new market, especially the same-language market, like Google.ca or Google.co.uk
Being able which queries your competitors are ranking for in various versions of Google makes international SEO much easier and more predictable. There’s some more info on how to make the most of the feature.
The tool currently costs $ 19 per month but they are giving up on the cheapest plan this summer.
Which tools are you using to explore your competition and, more importantly, make use of the data? Please share in the comments!
Ann Smarty is the Brand and Community Manager at InternetMarketingNinjas.com. She can be found on Twitter @seosmarty.
The post Three tools providing actionable competitive research insight appeared first on Search Engine Watch.