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54 Artificial Intelligence Powered Marketing Tools

Wed, 21 Mar 2018 10:07:29 +0000

The expression, “Marketers are data rich and insight poor” is more true today than ever. Marketers all over the world are working to optimize marketing operations and effectiveness using their abundance of data. Many are turning to tools and platforms powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI promises to make sense of all the [...]

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3 Reasons B2B Marketers Need Optimized & Influencer Activated Content

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 10:12:15 +0000

We’ve all read the headlines about the death of organic social media and BuzzSumo’s recent report on the huge drop in social sharing reinforces the news that the free for all days of social media are coming to a close. Add to that the distrust of branded content and advertising and it’s easy to see [...]

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Digital Marketing News: YouTube Beats Facebook, Twitter Verify for All, Gen Z Bailing on Social

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 10:13:58 +0000

Social Networking Platforms’ User Demographics Update 2018 –  The most widely-used social media platform in the US isn’t Facebook. It’s YouTube. This new report from Pew Research explores data from the top social networking platforms for 2018 including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp. MarketingCharts Forrester Says Only 15% of B-to-B Marketers Are [...]

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B2B Podcasting: What, Why and How

Wed, 14 Mar 2018 10:30:11 +0000

Okay, B2B marketers, time for a pop quiz: Which content marketing tactic can hold an audience’s attention for a half hour or more at a time? Which tactic inspires an audience to subscribe to your content and make a regular appointment to consume it? Which tactic can help boost thought leadership, raise awareness and engage influencers in your industry? Which tactic is in the title of this blog post? The answer, of course, is podcasting. These long-form audio programs first emerged in the early 2000s. Back then, they were a niche format for hobbyists and tech nerds (like me). But the rise of the smartphone brought podcasts to the masses. Now, there are hundreds of hours of programming available on every conceivable subject, in every genre from true crime to horror to musical.  But we haven’t hit content shock for podcasts — it’s still a growing market. If your brand is looking to boost thought leadership and reach a new audience, now is the perfect time to add a podcast to your content marketing mix. Here’s what you need to know to get started. What Is a Podcast, Anyway? There’s a wide variety of types of podcast out there, so it can seem tricky to find a definition that covers everything. Some are live interviews or panel discussions; some are fully scripted and produced audio plays; some are cryptic monologues about a bizarre southwestern town.  But they all share two attributes: There are multiple recordings for each title, and They’re organized in an RSS feed you can subscribe to. Whatever genre the audio is, whatever platforms it’s available on, as long as you have multiple recordings brought together by an RSS feed, you have a podcast. Why Should B2B Content Marketers Care about Podcasts? The way that people consume podcasts make them an ideal channel for your high-quality content. People tend to listen while working out, driving, cooking dinner — in other words, podcasts fill sizable chunks of otherwise idle time. You wouldn’t expect someone to read your white paper or eBook during their morning commute, but they might settle in with your latest episode. The demographics for podcast listeners are attractive for B2B marketers, too. Edison Research’s Podcast Consumer 2017 report found that: 24% of people ages 18-54 listen to podcasts monthly Podcast listeners are almost evenly split between men and women Podcast listeners tend to be affluent, educated consumers In the 25-54 demographic, monthly listening has grown year over year for the past four years In other words, your target audience is likely spending a significant amount of time listening to podcasts already. And those who already listen to at least one podcast are likely to be on the lookout for more. What Marketing Goals Can a B2B Podcast Serve? Podcasts work best for the attract and engage phases of the customer journey. You can use your podcast to build brand awareness and establish thought leadership in your industry. Thoughtful, valuable content can help your brand stand out from the competition, and encourage listeners to build a relationship with the brand. The most successful B2B podcasts tend to be in the Q&A or panel discussion style. Hosts can welcome new guests each week to share their insight. This type of format is perfect for influencer marketing: You can boost your internal subject matter experts, form relationships with influencers in the industry, even feature your potential prospects. The Dell Luminaries* podcast is a great example of thought leadership B2B podcasting. Each episode features a guest with useful — and often fascinating — thoughts to share with the audience. Some guests are internal experts at Dell, while others are influential entrepreneurs and executives from across the tech industry. Since podcasts have a low barrier of entry, they’re a good way to reach a niche audience, too. SAP’s recently-launched Customer Support Podcast * is a worthy example. Each episode features quotes from a wide array of [...]

4 Integrated Content Marketing Insights From the Trenches of Online Dating

Mon, 12 Mar 2018 10:30:06 +0000

Left. Left. Left. Right. Left. No, this is not an army drill. These are the swiping habits I’ve picked up from my time online dating. Done in a split second, I can swipe faster than most people can snap their fingers. If you’ve ever dabbled with dating apps or online dating, you know that these [...]

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Digital Marketing News: International Women’s Day, Google Warning, Facebook Tops YouTube

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 11:00:21 +0000

McDonald’s Flipped Its Famed Golden Arches for International Women’s Day – McDonald’s made a major play to celebrate International Women’s Day this year, taking its famed golden arches and turning them upside down across social media and at an owner-operated location in Lynwood, Calif. The effort is getting both kudos and criticism as a marketing ploy. Of [...]

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Content Marketers, This Is Not a Drill: 5 Alarm Bells from BuzzSumo’s Latest Report

Wed, 07 Mar 2018 11:30:32 +0000

AWWOOOOGA! AWOOOOGA! Content marketers, there is a content marketing emergency happening right now. This is not a drill. Please gather your belongings and exit the building in an orderly fashion. Go to your predetermined meeting spots to verify that your co-workers are safe, and start making a plan for the future. I’m not naturally an alarmist. But there’s blood in the water. And smoke on the water. And fire in the sky. BuzzSumo just published their Content Trends for 2018 and the results aren’t pretty. After analyzing 100 million pieces of content for social sharing, social traffic referrals, and backlinks, the team has one clear takeaway: What most content marketers are doing is no longer working. "The key takeaway from our research is that it is much harder to drive referral traffic from social networks than it used to be. Social sharing has halved over the last three years and organic reach has fallen, particularly on Facebook," BuzzSumo's Steve Rayson told us. "To be in the top 5 percent of shared content you needed just 343 shares in 2017. At the same time, content competition continues to increase with an ever increasing number of articles being published each week." So, do we assume crash position and wait for the inevitable? Heck no! Content marketing isn’t dying; it’s evolving. We can evolve our tactics and strategy to recapture our audience’s attention. Those who hear the alarm and take action will thrive, while those who keep snoozing will go down with the ship. As Rayson told us: "The lesson for content marketers is that you must have a content promotion or amplification strategy. You can no longer expect to publish content, share it on social and expect people to find it." [bctt tweet="You must have a content promotion or amplification strategy. You can no longer expect to publish content, share it on social & expect people to find it. - @steverayson #ContentMarketingTrends" username="toprank"] Here’s our look at some key findings from the report, and what smart marketers will do about them. 5 Content Marketing Alarm Bells #1 - Shares Are on the Decline The Alarm: The median number of shares on content has declined by half since 2015. There has also been a sharp decline in viral posts with hundreds of thousands of shares, and in the effectiveness of “clickbait”-style content. What You Can Do:. Instead of going after huge share counts, we should focus on getting shares from — you guessed it — influencers who have a relevant audience! Influencer marketing makes sure your content gets in front of the right people, and more than 8 of them at a time. Brand amplification of content isn’t enough to earn shares now — the content needs to come from people your audience already knows and trusts. [bctt tweet="Brand amplification of content isn’t enough to earn shares now — the content needs to come from people your audience already knows and trusts. - @NiteWrites #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"] #2 - Facebook Is Just Not that Into You The Alarm: Stop me if you’ve heard this one, but organic reach on Facebook has dramatically diminished in the past year and a half. Facebook shows no sign of reversing the trend, either. Quite the opposite; their stated goal is to have fewer (unpaid) brand messages in people’s crowded news feeds. What You Can Do: First, start thinking of Facebook as a pay-to-play platform and adjust budget and expectations accordingly. This is also a good time to evaluate how much of your audience is actually on Facebook and actively engaging with content. The report also shows that LinkedIn* likes and shares are up more than 60% from last year — which means LinkedIn may be a better place to focus your attention. #3 - Search Beats Social for Traffic Referrals The Alarm: At the end of 2015, Facebook referral traffic finally rose above Google referral traffic. But Facebook’s dominance was short[...]

Lee Odden Demystifies the Confluence Equation to Help Marketers Get Better Results

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 11:30:31 +0000

Influencer marketing is not a new concept. Public relations professionals, journalists and forward-thinking marketers have been executing some form of influencer marketing for decades. While that may be the case, times have changed. The expectation for influencer content marketing has evolved, which means consumers have higher expectations and the influencers themselves are more particular about [...]

The post Lee Odden Demystifies the Confluence Equation to Help Marketers Get Better Results appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Top Marketing News: Content Marketing Trends, Google Checks Your Speed & YouTube Live-Streaming Updates

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 11:30:42 +0000

Content Trends 2018: BuzzSumo Research Report A new report for BuzzSumo shows that social sharing is down 50% year-over-year, LinkedIn is becoming a leader in social engagement and more. BuzzSumo src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> YouTube Adds New Live-Streaming Tools, Including Monetization Options. Social Media Today YouTube recently added automatic english language subtitles for live-streaming videos, along with the ability to replay live-streamed videos and chat simultaneously and more.  Social Media Today Google Releases Mobile Scorecard & Impact Calculator Tools To Illustrate Importance Of Mobile Page Speed Google continues to reinforce the importance of mobile page speed. The search engine recently released tools to help website admins and marketers alike better understand why speed matters on mobile.  Search Engine Land We Regret to Inform You That Vero Is Bad [Updated] Although Vero was supposed to be the better Instagram, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in light of functionality issues that have come to the surface. Gizmodo Making your first AMP Story: Google’s answer to Snapchat and Instagram Google recently announced AMP Stories, a new format similar to Snapchat and Instagram Stories, implemented via a new accelerated mobile pages (AMP) component. Search Engine Land Marketing and IT Departments Need to Get In Sync to Best Capitalize on Mobile Technology According to recent research from Adobe, technologies like augmented reality , virtual reality and artificial intelligence are poised to help accelerate the mobile evolution. AdWeek Google Confirms “Edge Cases” When Content Theft Can Cause Negative Effects Search Engine Journal reports: “Google has updated the search results pages by adding breadcrumbs to the top of the page. The breadcrumbs are triggered by informational search queries and are accompanied by images.” Search Engine Journal Media Buyers: Snapchat Is Focused On Enabling Commerce In Ads Look out Pinterest in Instagram -- Snapchat is making a play for eCommerce advertisers. According to Digiday: “Snapchat is working on developing new commerce units to bolster its e-commerce offering.” Digiday Twitter's Rolling Out its New 'Bookmarks' Feature to All Users Twitter announced that it’s rolling out its new ‘Bookmarks’ feature, which serve as an alternative to liking a Tweet you want to view later. Social Media Today Facebook Rolls Out Job Posts To Become The Blue-collar Linkedin Facebook is trying to compete with LinkedIn in the job market, and they’re starting with skilled workers. TechCrunch GDPR Study Shows 65% Of Companies Unable To Comply MediaPost reports: “Data Applications provider Solix Technologies released the results Tuesday of a survey outlining the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) readiness assessment, revealing that the majority of organizations are not prepared for May 2018 GDPR enforcement.”  MediaPost   On the Lighter Side: Skippy Goes Smooth With Mark Ronson Soundtrack To Promote Its Creamy Peanut Butter - The Drum Lacoste’s Iconic Crocodile Makes Room for 10 Endangered Species on Brand’s Polo Shirts - AdWeek TopRank Marketing (And Clients) In the News: TopRank Marketing Blog - The 50 Best Business & Marketing Blogs - Detailed Steve Slater - Word of Mouth Marketing: How to Create a Strategy for Social Media Buzz & Skyrocket Referral Sales - BigCommerce Rachel Miller and Lee Odden - Top Influencers to engage with ahead of the #SMMW18 conference - Onalytica Lee Odden - Top 100 Digital Marketers 2018 - Brand24 Alex Rynne (LinkedIn) and Lee Odden - 7 Things Learned from Attending B2BMX - Cassie Ciopryna Lee Odden - Humanizing Marketing —Takeaways from #B2BMX 2018 - Tabitha Adams Cherwell Software - Cher[...]

7 Down & Dirty Ways Brands Can Collaborate with Fans to Create Amazing Content #SMMW18

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 20:23:39 +0000

“So much time and so little content to create.” – Said no one ever Let’s face it marketers, creating a quantity of quality content isn’t easy. Even more so, creating a quantity of quality content that your audience cares about is even more difficult. So, when you don’t have an unlimited budget or execution resources, [...]

The post 7 Down & Dirty Ways Brands Can Collaborate with Fans to Create Amazing Content #SMMW18 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

How to Succeed at B2B Content Marketing with More Credible Content

Wed, 28 Feb 2018 11:30:42 +0000

Ask any B2B marketer about their top digital marketing challenges and one of the first answers you’ll likely receive is: Getting in front of the right audience at the right time. In fact, Ytel’s 2018 State of B2B Marketing Communications survey revealed that 55% of respondents agreed that they have a hard time getting their message and content in front of their target audience. Why is that? Well, there’s more content at buyers’ fingertips than ever before, search engines are getting in touch with their human sides, and organic visibility on social media is effectively extinct. But, let’s real talk for a minute, marketers—this is all old news. In today’s digital marketing landscape, creating meaningful connections with your audience on any channel really comes down to trust and credibility. Consumers are increasingly numb to advertising and marketing messages—and they’re actively trying to avoid it all. Last year, PageFair reported that adblocking usage had grown by 30% globally. In addition, Facebook’s recent decision to de-emphasize brand content was in response to users saying that posts from businesses, brands and media were crowding their News Feeds. However, buyers are increasingly looking to those they know and those they think they know for insights, answers and recommendations. Multiple reports have shown that somewhere around 90% of consumers trust influencers or individuals over straight branded content. In addition, according to a recent report from CMI and SmartBrief, 40% of B2B decision-makers say that credibility trumps the source of the information. This means B2B brands and marketers need to double-down on creating quality, credible content to drive marketing objectives and wins. But how? By infusing credible voices, perspectives and insights from influential sources—namely industry experts and thought leaders—into the content marketing game plan. [bctt tweet="#B2B brands & marketers need to double-down on creating quality, #crediblecontent to drive #marketing objectives & wins." username="toprank"] To highlight how creating more credible content with influencers can help your B2B brand get in front of interested buyers, create an engaging experience, and inspire action, take a look at these three examples from the TopRank Marketing playbook of successful client influencer content marketing programs. Case Study #1 – Introhive: Reaching, engaging and inspiring a niche audience. Introhive is a leading customer relationship management (CRM) solutions provider. Working across a variety of industries, Introhive aims to help their clients gain and effectively leverage customer intelligence in a way that can grow their business. The Situation: The legal sector is one of Introhive’s focus industries. However, it’s an industry that’s been reluctant to adopt CRM technologies. Why? Oftentimes business development isn’t an established department within law practices, making it hard to justify investments in a “sales” technology. But law firms large and small have growth aspirations—and Introhive wanted to empower them to realize those opportunities. Another challenge with attorneys and other legal professionals is that they often build their careers on evidence and witness testimony. Essentially, this industry is by nature hard to reach without offering credibility, authority and proof. The Solution: With two unique challenges to overcome, our team knew that engaging other legal professionals to share their expertise and insights on business development, we could not only showcase the Introhive brand, but also needed to provide their audience with unique, relevant and trustworthy insights. TopRank Marketing worked with the team at Introhive to develop an integrated influencer content program that be[...]

2018 – 50 Top Social Media Marketing Influencers

Mon, 26 Feb 2018 11:00:00 +0000

It’s that time of year again for the conference extravaganza known as Social Media Marketing World.  Each year I pull together a list of influential voices that are engaging on social networks around the topic social media marketing. My goal? To help showcase speakers for people in the industry to learn from and follow. Why are [...]

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

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 11:30:07 +0000

Six Essential Email Marketing Tips [Infographic] Looking for email marketing success? This six tips can help you — and your emails — reach the right target. MarketingProfs src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Google Brings the Popular Stories Format to AMP: Is It Worth Using? Google announced a new story format for AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) this week. Google describes the new shiny thing as "a visual driven format for evolving news consumption on mobile." Econsultancy Internet Rages After Google Removes 'View Image' Button, Bowing to Getty Google removed the "view image" button this week in response to a recent lawsuit from Getty. This move has enraged the internet, but was done with hopes to encourage clicks through to the image's hosting website. Ars Technica 45% Of Marketers Cite Content & Experience Management As Top Priority In 2018 Econsultancy's Digital Trends 2018 report found that 45% of professionals surveyed cite content and experience management as their top priorities for this year, followed by the 32% that cited analytics. Econsultancy Top Digital Advertising Trends MediaPost compiled a research brief to show top digital advertising trends, including evidence that Google and Facebook owned 63% US digital market in 2017. Microsoft made strides, but remains a distant third place with just 4%. MediaPost Google Announces Two Major Changes to Image Search Google has announced two major changes to image search — including the previously reported removal of the "view image" button and the removal of the "search by image" button. Publishers are happy about these changes, Google search users aren't so thrilled. Search Engine Journal Pandora Takes Aim At Spotify And IHeartRadio With Programmatic Audio Ads AdAge reports: "Pandora said Tuesday that it will now offer its audio inventory programmatically through popular demand-side platforms such as MediaMath, The Trade Desk and AdsWizz." AdAge Snapchat Gives Creators Access to Audience Analytics Some select content creators on Snapchat are being given access to analytics and data about their audience, such as story views, engagement and demographics. This is only available to those who are part of Snapchat's Official Stories program. Search Engine Journal B2B Demand Generation: Marketers' Favorite Tactics Recent research from Demand Gen Report shows that email remains a top demand generation channel for both top and bottom funnel prospects. MarketingProfs Facebook Is Testing A 'Downvote' Button CNBC Reports: "Facebook is testing a 'downvote' button that lets users flag and hide comments they deem inappropriate. The social network clarified that it is not a 'dislike' button and the test is running for a small set of people in the U.S. only." CNBC Google To Move More Sites To Mobile-First Index In Coming Weeks Google plans on rolling more sites into the mobile-first index in the next several weeks. It's time to make sure your site is optimized for mobile if you haven't already — the time has finally come. Search Engine Land On the Lighter Side Red Stripe Says That, Whatever the Cost, It Will Buy a New Bobsled for Jamaica - AdWeek TopRank Marketing (And Clients) In the News: Steve Slater - Your M-Commerce Deep Dive: Data, Trends and What’s Next in the Mobile Retail Revenue World - Big Commerce Lee Odden - Better Than Bonuses: 4 Motivators That Matter More Than Money - Workfront We'll be back next week with more top digital marketing news! If you need more in the meantime, follow @toprank on Twitter or subscribe to our YouTube channel. The post Top Marketing News: Facebook Tests ‘Downvotes,’ Internet Rages at Google, Pandor[...]

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

Wed, 21 Feb 2018 11:30:40 +0000

My first encounter with marketing data malpractice came at a young age. I wasn't old enough to understand what was going on at the time, but my dad loves to tell the story. As I've gotten older, the humor and timeless relevance of this anecdote have struck me more and more. It was the mid-90s. We received a piece of mail at our house addressed to Lucy Nelson. It was a credit card offer from one of the industry's heavy hitters. Nothing out of the norm so far, right? Here's the problem: Lucy was no longer alive. And the bigger problem: Lucy was not a human. She was our dog. As it turns out, my older brother had been cited by an officer at a nearby park many years earlier for walking Lucy without a leash. When asked to give a name, he stuttered out the Golden Retriever's, along with our family surname. Somehow "Lucy Nelson" ended up in a city database and the credit card company had plucked it out to add to its mailing list. Ultimately, this resulted in our dearly departed dog being pitched a deluxe platinum card. Woof. Flash-forward 20-some years. It's a different world now. The rudimentary practice of collecting names and addresses from public databases seems so quaint in the Age of Big Data. Businesses and institutions now have the ability to gather comprehensive insights about people, both in aggregate and at an individual level. For the general populace, this can feel unnerving. And unfortunately, almost everyone reading this has experienced some breach of trust when it comes to corporations or government and personal data. But for marketers, the sheer volume of information now readily available presents a significant opportunity to take our profession to all new heights. By getting it right, we can help stem the tide of rising consumer wariness. A World of Distrust In 2017, for the first time since being introduced almost two decades ago, the Edelman Trust Barometer found a decline in consumer trust toward business, media, government, and NGOs to "do what is right." That's bad. And even worse: the organization's Trust Index didn't rebound in the 2018 study, released in January. "A World of Distrust," Edelman has dubbed it in 2018. And who can blame folks for losing faith? These days it can feel like the only major news story that isn't shrouded in doubt is when Equifax leaks the personal information of 150 million people. In such an environment, it's hard to not to squirm when learning that your Amazon Alexa, and even your smartphone, is listening to you pretty much at all times. While apprehension is understandable, these aren't people spying on us; they are robotic algorithms collecting data in efforts to understand us and better serve us. As marketers, we can play a major role in showing people the benefits of a data-focused marketplace. Customers rightfully have high expectations of our ability to offer high-quality tailored experiences, and we need to follow through. It's an historic opportunity. [bctt tweet="As marketers, we can play a major role in showing people the benefits of a data-focused marketplace. - @NickNelsonMN #CX #DataDrivenMarketing" username="toprank"] Connecting the Dots Our CEO Lee Odden recently wrote this in a blog about data creating better customer experiences: “One of the universal truths that we’ve operated under at TopRank Marketing,” he explained. “Is about the power of information specific to customers that are actively searching for solutions." In that post, Lee wrote about his experience searching online for a portable battery charger and then being served ads for purple mattresses. That's the kind of thing that drives me crazy. As Lee notes: "The data is there. Customers are telling you what they want. The question is, [...]

This Changes Everything: How AI Is Transforming Digital Marketing

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 11:30:16 +0000

Will artificial intelligence (AI) put marketers out of work? It’s a question I’m seeing a lot lately, and to me, it’s a strange one. It’s like if everyone 150 years ago was asking: “Will the tractor put farmers out of work?” Of course, John Deere didn’t put farmers out of business; better tools just made them more efficient and better able to scale. Granted, the tractor did reduce the demand for horses and farmhands. So, no, AI will not put you out of work…as long as your work is creative, innovative and intelligent. If all of your daily work can be done by a machine, eventually it will be. To be the farmer rather than the horse, you need to understand what AI can do to augment and scale your efforts, not replace them. Here’s what AI can do to improve your digital marketing efforts right now. #1: Artificial Intelligence and SEO If there’s one area of digital marketing that is most affected by AI right now, it’s SEO. Machine learning is directly affecting site visibility right now, and its influence will only increase in the future. A machine learning algorithm called RankBrain (link to Backlinko’s incredibly useful guide) is currently Google’s third most important ranking signal. In the past, Google’s developers monitored search results and tweaked algorithms to better suit search needs. SEO experts then tried to reverse-engineer each algorithm change to better position their content. With RankBrain in the driver’s seat, though, no human being will know why content is ranked up or down. The algorithm will continuously be testing and refining settings based on user behavior. This switch means some traditional SEO activities, like keyword lists and backlinks, will decline in importance. The ranking signals that will matter most will be those related to user activity: Time on page Bounce rate Pogo sticking Scroll depth Any indicator that shows how a user found your content valuable is now an SEO indicator. SEO experts and content creators will need to work more closely together to ensure content meets a specific search need, addresses a specific audience, and is compelling to read. That’s not to say technical SEO is dead, but it is evolving. SEO experts should focus on structuring data, applying schema, implementing AMP, and optimizing for voice search. What do these tasks have in common? They’re all candidates for automation. SEO experts of the future will be feeding data into their own AI and using it to apply these ranking factors to content at scale. [bctt tweet="#SEO experts of the future will be feeding data into their own #AI & using it to apply ranking factors to content at scale. - @NiteWrites" username="toprank"] #2: Artificial Intelligence and Chatbots Chatbots are AI-driven programs that interact with users in a natural-language environment. These programs are rapidly becoming a major area of interest for marketers, as an increasing amount of social media traffic takes place on private messaging services like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Buffer’s annual social media report found that there are more people on the top four messaging apps than on the top four social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn). That’s an engagement opportunity that’s hard to ignore. And, of course, chatbots can live on your brand’s homepage, answering questions and providing support. Most digital marketers see chatbots as a way to provide personalized customer service at scale – which is tangentially related to marketing, but not directly a marketing function. However, chatbots can also help guide users through a customer journey to a sale. A lot of the chatter (no pun intended) around chatb[...]

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

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 11:30:29 +0000

The Top Three Reasons Sales and Marketing Alignment Is Off [Infographic] Communication, broken processes and disconnected metrics are the top three reasons that sales and marketing alignment is off. Is it an issue of focus, priorities, or something else? MarketingProfs src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Instagram Gives Brands New Way to Sell In 'Collection' Ads Instagram launched "collection" ads, which allow users to shop and purchase directly through the Instagram platform. AdAge Google Announces Amp For Email – Delivering Accelerated Mobile Pages Experiences To Your Inbox The new spec is available today through the Gmail Developer Preview, with support in Gmail slated for later this year. MarketingLand Instagram Tests Its Version Of The Retweet But Thru Stories Instagram has begun testing a new feature that would allow users to share public posts from other profiles to their own followers through the Stories feature. MarketingLand Nielsen Creates New Metric to Measure the Effectiveness of Product Integrations Nielsen is launching a new metric that may help marketers and publishers standardize brand mentions across platforms, like TV, short-form video and subscription-video-on-demand services. AdWeek Google Launches New Look For ‘People Also Search For’ Search Refinements Go to a search result, click on a listing, and then click back to the search results page on Google to trigger this on Google desktop search. Search Engine Land Breaking Up With Facebook: Users Confess They're Spending Less Time Mark Zuckerberg says recent changes have reduced the amount of time users spend on Facebook by 50 million hours each day, but those changes aren't the only reasons, according to users. USA Today How Facebook Is Changing the Way It Reports Organic Reach for Page Posts A redesign of Page Insights began rolling out this week for iOS and Android, along with a more accurate way for page admins to determine the effectiveness of their organic posts. AdWeek New Research: Account-Based Marketing Trends: Top Channels, Priorities, and Challenges New research indicates that the top challenges and priorities for account based marketing are the same – aligning sales and marketing, attributing marketing efforts to revenue and scoring and targeting ideal accounts. MarketingProfs Snapchat Is Opening Up Its Marketing Platform to All Ad-Tech Players and Agencies Snapchat is opening up their API to allow companies more access to their ad buying platform, and potentially more data. AdWeek Google Sets Deadline for HTTPS and Warns Publishers to Upgrade Soon If you haven’t made the switch on your site from http to https, it’s time to get started. Google has set a deadline of July 2018, after which Chrome will begin warning users explicitly if a site is insecure. Search Engine Journal On the Lighter Side: Google Launches 2018 Winter Olympics Features Across Search Results - Search Engine Journal McDonald’s Absurdly Lavish ‘Bling Mac’ Ring Could Be Yours, If You Love It Enough - AdWeek Over 150 New Emojis to Be Released on iPhone and Android This Year - Independent TopRank Marketing (And Clients) In the News: Rachel Miller & Lee Odden - Top 100 Social Media and Marketing Influencers - Digital Scouting Lee Odden -  37 Digital Marketing Conference Speakers Who Will Inspire Your Marketing Programs - Outbrain Lee Odden - Who Were The Top CMO Influencers Of 2017?  - Forbes Lee Odden - 16 Digital Rockstars you Need to Follow - neilmchugh We'll be back next week with more digital marketing news! In the meantime, quench your digital market[...]

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

Wed, 14 Feb 2018 11:00:50 +0000

Let’s just get this out of the way: I don’t know anything about hacking. I’ve never hacked anything in my life, unless you’re describing my golf swing, or you count using a Game Genie to cheat at Sega Genesis back in the early ‘90s. In general, I find terms like “life hacks” and “growth hacking” to be… well, hackneyed. But you know what? Blog titles that include “hacks” — or other strong and compelling descriptors such as “surprising” or “critical” — have a greater tendency to gain viral traction. Sometimes a simple data point like that can be the springboard you need to uncover inspiration. Which brings us to the purpose of today’s post. Here at TopRank Marketing, we have an insanely talented Content Team. Legitimately some of the best writers and strategic thinkers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working alongside. But even these awesome pros are not immune to the occasional creative rut or swoon in productivity. It comes with the territory. Recently the team came together to discuss some of our personal methods for overcoming content creation slumps and getting back on track when we’re dragging. I figured I would share some of the most salient pointers to come out of that meeting here, so other marketers can benefit and maybe adopt a few of them during their own periods of stagnation. Hacks, insider tips, pearls of eternal wisdom — whatever attention-grabbing name you’d like to apply, I just hope you find these practical tips helpful in enhancing your productivity and elevating your content marketing success. (And feel free to comment with your own if you have tricks that work for you.) #1 - Embrace the 5-Second Rule Last year, Mel Robbins published a book called “The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage.” The premise behind this guide to conquering self-doubt and procrastination is rooted in psychology. Basically, the crux is that because our brains are wired to avoid risk, we are innately predisposed to abandon many ideas and plans almost as quickly as they arrive. Robbins challenges us to overcome this inclination by forcing ourselves to take some sort of action to move an idea forward within five seconds of the thought crossing our consciousness. It can be small and it doesn’t always have to lead anywhere. But it’s all about getting past your initial misgivings and, in some way, turning an idea from concept into reality. So, next time the notion of a blog angle passes through your head, take the step to jot down a note, or even a loose outline. When you’re struck with the spark for a content campaign, but not quite sure about it, discuss it with a colleague or at least record a quick voice memo on your phone. Basically, stop saying “later” and start saying “now.” By following this approach, you’ll find yourself with a whole lot more to work with, and it might just be that a passing fancy you’d have otherwise pushed out of mind turns into something great. [bctt tweet="Stop saying “later” and start saying “now” when an idea crosses your mind. - @NickNelsonMN #ContentCreation #ContentMarketing" username="toprank"] #2 - Start with Your Conclusion A classic writing tip from fledgling novelists is to draft the ending of a story first, and then work your way up to it. This same advice can be aptly applied to any content writer who is struggling to get a piece off the ground. When I’m sitting down to write something new, I frequently find that getting started is the toughest part. You need a strong, compelling introduction, and in many cases can’t proceed until you’[...]

9 Upcoming Events to Learn All About Content and Influencer Marketing

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 11:15:47 +0000

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

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

Fri, 09 Feb 2018 11:30:25 +0000

Social Media Trends to Put Into Practice in 2018 [Infographic] What should social media marketers focus on in 2018? This infographic shows several trends, like social media ROI, mobile growth and trust. Social Media Today src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"> Search, Paid And SEO, Rank Higher As CMOs Seek New Agency Partners What do CMOs look for in agency partners? A new report shows that while advertising and direct marketing remain on the top of the list, SEO and SEM are moving to toward the top in leaps and bounds. MediaPost Mobile Ads To Soar In 2018, Especially In Local Media MediaPost reports: “Social media ad revenue from mobile (not including tablets) now represents just over 70% of total social ad spending - and will grow to 80% by 2022, per BIA/Kelsey.” MediaPost Google Analytics Introduces New ‘Audiences’ Report Google Analytics has released a new report called “Audiences,” which is located, appropriately under the “audiences” category within the Google Analytics dashboard. To use this report, make sure to configure audiences in your account. Search Engine Journal Google Officially Announces the New Google Search Console is Available for Everyone Great news for Google Search Console users: the new version (in beta) is now available to everyone. You can still toggle between the old and new views if needed. Changes include consolidated error reporting and better export usability. Search Engine Land Twitter Extends Full Tweet Archive to Developers ZDNet reports: “Twitter announced it's giving developers access to the full archive of its history - all the way back to the first tweet in 2006. Until Thursday, full access to Twitter's history was only available to enterprise API customers.” ZDNet Instagram’s Carousel Ad Format is Coming to Instagram Stories Instagram announced recently that they’re bringing their Carousel Ads into stories, allowing for more than one piece of media. Advertisers can now use 1-3 pieces of media (photos or videos) in this new format. TechCrunch The State of Chatbots in 2018: Top Benefits and Challenges Consumers are saying that the benefits of chatbots include 24-hour customer service, along with getting instant responses. However, 43% of those surveyed said a potential blocker to using chatbots would be their preference for a live assistant. MarketingProfs Amazon Wins the Superbowl (of Ads) According to USA Today, Amazon’s “Alexa” spots beat out the NFL’s “Dirty Dancing”-themed ads during this year’s Super Bowl. USA Today US Social Users Head to YouTube, Facebook to Watch Videos Marketers can no longer afford to ignore video advertising. Why? eMarketer is predicting that video ad spending in the US alone will reach $15.42 billion this year, and will grow to $22.18 billion by 2021. eMarketer Intel Made Smarts Glasses That Look Normal Apparently, The Verge recently got an exclusive sneak peek at Intel’s new smart glasses Vaunt, which uses retinal projection to put a display in your eyeball. The best part? The glasses actually look like “normal” glasses. The Verge Digital Ad Buyers Say Google Search, Facebook Deliver the Best ROI A December 2017 survey of U.S. senior ad buyers by financial services firm Cowen and Company showed Google search was held in the “highest esteem” when it came to ROI. Nearly half of respondents named the platform as offering the highest ROI. Meanwhile, Facebook ranked second, named by 30% of those polled. eMarketer Snapchat Slip[...]

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

Wed, 07 Feb 2018 11:00:57 +0000

Roughly 120,000 visitors from 130 countries descended on the Twin Cities last week to take part in Super Bowl LII festivities hosted in downtown Minneapolis. To welcome visitors to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank—which just so happens to have its name on the stadium that hosted the big game—wanted to give visitors a taste of “what Minnesota is all about.” For those of you who haven’t heard, Minnesota—where TopRank Marketing is proudly based—isn’t just known for its frigid winters and as the birthplace and residence of the late Prince Rogers Nelson. It’s also known for its “northern hospitality”—or as it’s affectionately called—Minnesota Nice. With Minnesota Nice as their inspiration—and some great strategic thinking—U.S. Bank launched the #MnNice #NiceOff conversation and friendly competition on Twitter, inviting its followers and other local brands to try to “out-nice” each other by sharing acts of kindness that are Minnesota Nice signatures. The result? A social media marketing campaign that was thoughtful, engaging, subtly brand-centric, and influencer-activated. Starting the Conversation While the conversation started with the single tweet below, the campaign was in the works for weeks. As it so happens, TopRank Marketing alumni and current U.S. Bank Social Media Campaign Manager, Jason Schober, was part of the action. And he was gracious enough to give us an inside look. “We really wanted to evoke some engagement and brand activation within the community of people that would be participating in the activities leading up to and at the big game,” Schober told us. Eventually, the Minnesota Nice-themed campaign strategy emerged as a winning idea. To get started, the team team laid out a strategy that would ensure FCC compliance by not mentioning financial products or services in communications, respect Super Bowl guidelines since U.S. Bank was not a direct sponsor, and make sure the campaign made sense for their brand identity and voice. The campaign was in great shape, but U.S. Bank didn’t want to go at it alone. So, roughly a week before launch, they began to form partnerships with other local, well-known brands—including Target, Land O’ Lakes, Sun Country and 3M—to be part of the conversation. However, none of the partnering brands knew what others would be posting until it unfolded on launch day (Feb. 1), which kept the conversation real and spontaneous. Here’s a shot of the beginning of the conversation. For the work we do at TopRank Marketing, this move is directly tied to the power of influence in marketing. By partnering with influential brands, U.S. Bank was not only able to add credible voices to the conversation, but also extend their reach to these brands’ respective audiences. In addition, once the ball got rolling, other brands and individuals were given an organic opportunity to get in on the fun. Of course, many of the interactions cleverly intertwined a brand’s own marketing message. Here’s one of our favorites: When it came to selecting the right hashtag to define the conversation, their approach was two-pronged, according to Jason. “The original idea was #MinnesotaNiceOff,” he explained. “But for both tracking and engagement purposes, we decided to leverage two hashtags: #MnNice and #NiceOff. Reason being, we knew #MnNice was already being used and could open our conversation up to a broader audience, and #NiceOff would be something we could own and brand the conversation with.” The Big Takeaway A thou[...]