Game Changers – New Digital Requirements that will Change Your Marketing Plan

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Mobilegeddon, Instagram Ads, Pinterest Search – just a few of the top digital tactics that have come out in just the first six months of this year have (if you’re already on top of them) or will (if you aren’t) change your entire marketing plan for this year. Here’s a recap of the game changers that will change your marketing plan – and if you’re a good marketer, you’ll change it now, not later.

  • Mobile First. Mobile search surpassed desktop search earlier this year – and then, on April 21, Google released an algorithm update that penalized non-mobile optimized (or responsive) websites. ‘Mobilegeddon’ as it was called, was a flurry of marketers scrambling to figure out how to either; (a) bite the bullet and redesign their website in a responsive / mobile optimized format – or – (b) find a workaround to appease Google in the meantime.
    • Impact #1 – Google continues to release algorithm updates that reward sites with a great user experience. Get it right now, or scramble to catch up with the next update.
    • Impact #2 – Mobile is in the lead for certain metrics, but remain device agnostic. When in doubt, keep user experience and audience interests at the forefront of all marketing decisions).
    • Impact #3 – Channel strategies should shift to accommodate more mobile targeted tactics: Paid Search Campaigns skewed to mobile devices, ramp up Facebook advertising (knowing that Facebook also is a ‘mobile first’ company), optimize for Local Search, and the list goes on.
  • Social Advertising & Content.  Social platforms continue to open up new targeting methods with advertising options, and they’re only getting better. Pinterest now allows advertising, animated (‘cinematic’) pins that can be optimized in the same way you optimize for search (Pinterest’s search team is from Google, so you can imagine there’s some similarity in their search algorithm there). Instagram is opening up advertising options to more advertisers, and can pull in Facebook Advertising targeting capabilities. Facebook Advertising is now critical (and one of the only ways to get in front of your audience), and targeting strategies are getting better, all while advertising costs rise (so get in now, while the gettin’s cheap-er!).
    • Impact #1 – Shift advertising budget allocation towards social channels (not next year, now) to ensure that you’re getting highly targeted visibility in a new channel, while the ‘channel clutter’ is low, and taking advantage of a low-cost awareness and conversion platform.
    • Bonus Point – Social signals still count as a factor in search rank, even with Google’s latest algorithm update.
    • Impact #2 – Optimize your social content both for search engine and native search indexing. We’ve created a culture of ‘searchers’, it’s up to you to connect searching consumers with your brand.
    • Impact #3 – Create relevant content. Start first by defining the specific channel audience, then the targeting capabilities, and develop the most relevant social content possible for that audience.
  • Twitter Counts in Search.  Now that Google & Twitter have a deal to index tweets again, this easy content channel can turn into a long-tail search dream.
    • Impact #1 – Reconsider Twitter in your social channel mix. Consider it as a SEO aide and a social channel, with a focus on driving visibility for long-tail terms and converting that visibility to traffic.
    • Impact #2 – Optimize Tweets. Look to your SEO Keyword Research / Plan to help guide your Twitter content calendar by incorporating target keywords into topics and tweets.
    • Impact #3 – Run Twitter Advertising Tests. There is a solid correlation between highly visible tweets (via retweets, audience size) and the likelihood that your tweet will show up in Google search. Consider running Twitter advertising tests to help boost channel visibility, followers and select tweets.
  • Content is More Than King, it’s the Kingdom. Search, social and paid advertising channels can’t run without content. Yet, if siloed, content development becomes very segmented and inefficient. It’s time we rethink how we look at content as an afterthought, and make it as important as digital marketing is to a business. Reconsider how you look at content. Is it an afterthought, or the leading thought?
    • Impact #1 – Create a master content calendar that aggregates content needs and output on all channels: SEO, Blog, Social Media, Paid Media, Email, PR. Find content gaps where there are missing holes between the ideal customer content experience and what you currently have. Then create the right content, and make it user friendly. If you wouldn’t watch / read / share it – why would your audience?
    • Bonus point: Create a content repository, if you don’t already have one. With needs for content growing, staying organized will be key.
    • Impact #2 – Invest in rapid, high-quality content resources and partners. Content can’t take forever to develop any more, and it doesn’t have to. The right resources and partners can enable you to produce more content that is valuable, visible and trackable. You have to feed the beast, and he’s hungry.
    • Impact #3 – Make content accountable. Every piece of content should have a set of performance metrics attributed to it. Some content will perform better than others, and that success path should be tracked. Consider content like shooting arrows out to your audience: you’ll want to see where they land, and figure out what you did to land the good ones.

So – if you’re following the digital marketing plan that you set in place last year, it’s already out of date. Follow the plan that will work, now – and use an agency to tell the difference.

The 7 New Rules of SEO

Search Engine Watch and Pratik Dholakiya recently published a great list of seven ‘directives’ or rules for SEO today that sum up many of the questions we get on a daily basis – so here’s my key takeaways from the list;

  1. Link Building isn’t dead; it has evolved.  Building links is still a critical aspect of SEO (and equates to about 40% of search rank factors) – its just how you build these links that matters.
  2. If you want to build backlinks, build relationships.  High quality content and backlinks both take time, nurturing, and can’t be automated.
  3. SEO must be an enterprise-wide effort.  You have to go big or go home – SEO is so content driven that every aspect of the business has a need for it, and content worth producing (from operations, to supply chain, R&D to marketing).
  4. Long-Tail goes a Long-Way.  Google’s Hummingbird update made long-tail search more relevant than ever – and it starts with items 1-3 already on this list.
  5. Usability, UX and Mobile Optimization take you the rest of the way.  With Google’s mobile algorithm update, it’s a clear signal that Google is rewarding those that provide a great customer experience that aligns with the upward trend of internet & search use.
  6. Your brand is social, Twitter is more relevant than ever.  Now that Tweets are appearing in search results, implementing items 1-5 within social are critical.  Next  stop – Pinterest.  With an ex-Google team developing the algorithm for Pinterest, it’s set to head the same way.  And if you didn’t get how important video has been over the last two years, you’ll need to pick up on that, too.
  7. Do your thing – what is right for your business.  Google updates have, and will continue to come out on a regular basis.  Stick to what you know is right, and you’ll continue to stay in the good graces of Google.

Scott Brinker’s ‘Marketing Technology Landscape’ Map – 2015 Edition

Scott Brinker of @chiefmartec has done it again – further updating his Marketing Technology Landscape infographic / map.  I love this infographic for two reasons; (1) if I ever need to see what companies are providing services in a certain area, I just have to zoom in 15x, and (2) it gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger every year.

The real lesson out of all of this is that if you – as a business – have to rely on a graph like this to get traffic / customers – instead of showing up on page 1 search results for a simple, topical search keyword – you have a SEO problem. 293

Thank you, Scott!  Just when you thought you knew it all – he can always show you more.  View his MarTec blog @

Why Millennials Use Snapchat? They’re obsessed.

Snapchat is now the #3 social network among millennials (trailing Facebook and Instagram, and, making me feel young again – thanks Business Insider!).  BI didn’t just provide a guide showing you how to use snapchat, but also – some qualitative feedback on WHY millennials are so… obsessed. (Keep in mind, this is the PG version of all of the feedback they received).

Answers to various questions on ‘Why do you like Snapchat?’;

  • Snap Art.  No chance to edit, it’s a slice of life.
  • Discover.  Favorite brands with only the best video content.
  • One-to-One Engagement
  • Quick & Visual (Images & Video)
  • Disposable Content.  Content that has a lifespan… for 5 seconds.
  • The User-Interface is non-existent.
  • Ugly Selfies.  When you get ugly selfies from someone, that’s how you know you’re good friends.”

Converged Content & Media Strategy Checklist

If you remember Altimeter Group‘s Converged Media Imperative when it came out in 2012, you’ll be surprised when you reread the content and realize that marketing as an industry – and most marketers – still aren’t there yet.  Channels are still siloed.  SEO still reigns supreme, Paid is still questionable, Social Media still exists in a bubble – and for most, marketing budgets still match last click attribution.  Reevaluating this Converged Media Strategy – and with a checklist – might be the way to help make a drastic (better late than never) change in your Content Strategy;

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YouTube is a Search Engine & Other Social / Video Search Stats

In CCO this month, Seth Dotterer (VP of Marketing at Conductor / @Conductor) brought up some good points on social search and video search with his article YouTube is a Search Engine – here are the sound-bite highlights;

  • “…video is expected to account for 79 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2018.”
  • “Facebook serves more than 1 billion searches per day, and Pinterest – consistently ranked in comScore’s top 50 digital media properties – launched guided search this summer.  (Pinterest says it wants to be the place where people search for inspiration.)”
  • “…with a little in-house talent, a decent camera and some editing software, any brand can produce video its audiences want to watch. Here are some ideas;”
    • How-to (RZ: these keywords also tend to draw massive search volume as well)
    • List (RZ: pick the most video-friendly topics from your editorial calendar)
    • Unboxing (RZ: if you enjoy unwrapping a gift, you’ll totally understand this one)

Other top video trends to align with your brand and demand (keyword search volume) can be found on YouTube’s Trends Dashboard.

Content & B2B Social Selling

Altimeter Group‘s Rebecca Lieb provides very simple, yet useful perspective on the role of content in B2B social selling – or – what you could also consider as the most valuable use for social media in a B2B business (supporting sales), where content is key;

Without “content,” all you have left in social sales is “social,” i.e., a platform, a forum or a social network. Devoid of content, all these channels amount to empty containers.

She provides some great tips to start right with strategy first;

  1. Align Content to the Sales Funnel
  2. Empower Staff to Curate & Aggregate
  3. Listen & Respond
  4. Apply Metrics (to measure performance)
  5. Build Social Sales Content into the Overall Content Strategy
  6. Train (and educate internal staff and execs)
  7. Hire Accordingly (you’ll need the extra help)

Lastly, it’s helpful to know that if you are in the conundrum of ‘what to do with social media for my anti-social B2B business’, you’re not alone.  Consider this an opportunity to blast ahead of the competition.


Highly Recommended – Cliffs Notes

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Another installment in my summer reading series – Highly Recommended – a book by Paul Rand (a colleague I had the pleasure of speaking with at a recent Bazaarvoice conference – regarding evolution of the agency world – good times).  If you have a business that has an inherent social aspect to it (or, a ‘social business’), this is a great read with points and commentary that back up the necessity and value of word of mouth and social media marketing tactics, like;

  • “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumers it is; it’s what the consumers tell each other it is.” – Scott Cook, Intuit
  • Using NPS (Net Promoter Score) to better understand how to drive loyalty with different types of customers; Promoters, Passives, Detractors.
  • Using the Consumer Decision Journey by McKinsey & Company;

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Google+ / Hangouts = GoogleGone

Google+ had some great SEO / SERP benefits while it lasted… but now, it’s going the way of Google Buzz – reportedly soon to get carved up (no longer positioned as a competitor to Facebook, but now to be incorporated into their other, more successful Google products).  According to two sources reported by TechCrunch

Google has apparently been reshuffling the teams that used to form the core of Google+, a group numbering between 1,000 and 1,200 employees.

TechCrunch is assuming that these employees – along with the Google Hangout team – will get reshuffled into other mobile roles, reiterating the importance of mobile for 2014, and critically in 2015.

4 Influencer Marketing Tools

Influencer Marketing – and the co-creation of meaningful, brand-sponsored content that better engages any customer / consumer audience – is certainly a way to gain additional unclaimed visibility and source for referral traffic.  Good news is – there are some great tools that make a daunting task, manageable…

TapInfluence (solely influencer marketing & management)

ViralHeat (influencer marketing and social media management)

Traackr (influencer marketing and management)

Sprinklr (‘social experience management’)



Consumers Engage Retailers MORE on Social

Infosys just released a new report on “Rethinking Retail” that has some great stats supporting retailer use and optimization of social – supported with even more insight & ideas on their Rethink Retail Microsite.

Key findings of the study

  • Social media matters
    • Consumers interact with retailers’ Facebook pages (38 percent) more than the brands’ own websites (36 percent); a difference that is significantly more pronounced for younger consumers
    • 89 percent of those who interact with a retailer online through any social media outlet say that the interaction has an impact on their purchase
    • Women are twice as likely as men to be influenced by Pinterest; YouTube influences twice as many men as women
    • Only 2 percent of all people polled say that FourSquare has any influence on their purchase
  • Brand consistency across channels significantly impacts consumer spend
    • Nearly two-thirds of consumers say that consistency plays a role in their tendency to spend with a brand (63 percent)
    • A third (34 percent) say high consistency across a brand’s channels would mean a greater spend, while a lack of consistency results in a reduction in their spending (39 percent)
  • Consumers see far fewer in-store personalized offers than retailers claim they offer; retailers losing out
    • 59 percent of consumers who have experienced personalization believe it has a noticeable influence on their spending
    • Though 62 percent of retailers reported that they offer personalized offers in store, only 20 percent of consumers report seeing ‘in-store only’ personalized offers
  • Online shoppers are regularly targeted with more personalized perks than those who shop in-store
    • 39 percent of brands offer product recommendations based on customers’ previous purchases online, versus only 10 percent in-store. A minority (45 percent) have offers both online and in-store
    • 48 percent of organizations offer personalized offers / promotions based on customers’ previous purchases only online, just 3 percent do so only in-store. A minority (45 percent) have offers both online and in-store
    • Consumers are three times more likely to impulse-buy in a store than online
  • Lack of technology limits retailers who want to offer superior customer experience
    • 96 percent of consumers expect retailers to inform them of new products. Only 34 percent of retailers, however, can track consumer trends in real time, reducing their ability to rollout appropriate offers which can drive sales
    • Lack of technology is the most common factor (38 percent) preventing retailers from creating a more integrated customer experience within their organization


Social Sells / RPV

Internet Retailer recently published some great stats from (No. 202 in the Top 500 Guide) highlighting their ‘secret to success’ in social…

NoMoreRack’s social commerce sales surge is largely a reflection of the retailer increasingly viewing social media – and Facebook in particular – as a direct response channel rather than a forum to boost brand awareness, says Agarwal.

The majority of its posts focus on a specific product, as do most of the posts it pays to publicize via Facebook’s Promoted Posts… led to 35% of the retailer’s traffic in a typical month stemming from social networks.

This is in addition to Adobe’s latest Adobe Digital Index that reports;

…average revenue per visit for shoppers who click from Facebook was 93 cents in the third quarter, up about 39% from 67 cents in the same period a year earlier.

According to the Adobe Digital Index, average Revenue Per Visit from social channels is;

  • Facebook @ $0.93  (up 39% YOY from $0.67)
  • Twitter @ $0.44  (up 300% YOY from $0.11)
  • Pinterest @ $0.55  (up 150% YOY from $0.22)

Pinterest API Launch

Pinterest launched it’s first developer API last week – making it easier to post content from sites without interrupting the shopping experience.  First brands in line are Disney, WalMart, Zappos, etc.  Expansion to new partners and updates with new features are said to roll out over the next few weeks.  Thanks, TechCrunch!

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NRN’s Restaurant Social Media Index

Straight from NRN… The NRN Social 200 List!

a live look at the social media footprints of the nation’s largest restaurant chains. Built with TrackingSocial, the Social 200 index monitors restaurant brand efforts and customer engagement on the three largest social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Developed on a scale of one to infinity, much like a stock price, the index values for each brand, and the aggregate industry values, will fluctuate each day, week or month, depending on activity. This new index is sortable by header topic so users can view growth trends, segment leaders and individual value scores.

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Facebook Rewards High-Quality Content

Facebook released additional confirmation that they are promoting and rewarding more high-quality content on the network (aka – it’ll reach more fans, impressions, lower CPM/CPC).  They deem high quality content to be content that completes these questions…

  • Is this timely and relevant content?
  • Is this content from a source you would trust?
  • Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
  • Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (e.g., asking for people to like the content)
  • Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
  • Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?

20 Brands, 20 Topics – Earned Media, Search & Social

Andy Betts of Search Engine Watch recently shared 20 key insights from 20 brands (with plenty of great infographs and presentations) on the topics of earned media, search and social – as a result of the BrightEdge Share13 Conference. Here are the highlights;

  • the rise of earned media (more trusted than any other channel)
  • the future of search (and how it’s changing with mobile)
  • attribution and content (multi-device approach)
  • the digital CMO (predicting consumer desires)
  • the digital CMO challenge (articulate digital value)
  • global and mobile SEO
  • quality content marketing at scale
  • enterprise content marketing & reach
  • search forcasting and business impact
  • social, search & tv (digital consumption has outpaced tv)
  • metrics and analytics that matter (big data)
  • adapting SEO metrics to SERP changes
  • metrics that drive SEO engagement
  • search & earned media case study
  • search & earned media (how to bring it together)
  • aligning content & SEO
  • creating content for customers (not spiders)
  • webmaster tools and whitehat practices
  • loving links beyond SEO
  • the social business transformation
  • mobile and SEO budgets changing


Nordstrom’s Best Retargeting Campaign

Nordstrom has mastered the art of retargeting with their latest campaign – from a consumer standpoint, it appears that they’re promoting your Pinterest Pins, only – it’s simply retargeting with dynamic ad insertion / product insertion.  BRILLIANT!  Nice find, Bryan Nagy.



Real Cost of Social Media

  • Factors that should be considered in a cost estimate for a social media campaign include staffing costs, advertising and other fees – which net out at anestimated average cost of $210,600
  • Main benefits experienced and perceived by US Marketing Executives include customer engagement, direct communication with customers, speed in obtaining feedback and researching customer preferences, low cost, and brand-building
  • The average amount spent by a Facebook fan exceeded that spent by a non-Facebook fan for brands like McDonald’s, Coke, Starbucks, Nike, and Victoria’s Secret, among others
  • On average, a Facebook fan spent $71.84 more on products of which they’re ‘fans’ of
  • Facebook fans are 41% more likely to recommend a liked product to their friends.
  • Estimated ROI on a Twitter account with 33,000 followers? 43%
  • Using @OldSpice as a case study, Focus found a 2700% increase in Twitter followers, 800% increase in Facebook fans, and a 300% increase in traffic to the brand site