March 31, 2016

3 Ways to Optimize Your Website for Social Media Marketing


While just about every website undertakes some form of SEO these days, there’s another marketing opportunity that's often missed altogether - optimizing your company’s website for social media marketing. 
There’s much more to effective social media marketing than simply setting up a Facebook page with your company’s name attached to it. Unfortunately, many small businesses treat their company’s website and social media accounts as two mutually exclusive parts of their digital marketing strategy. In reality, both should be closely intertwined. 
Here’s the deal - when your website and social media platforms are working in unison, your digital marketing results have the potential to grow exponentially. An increased number of site visitors, a more engaged social following and - most importantly - more sales are sure to follow when you successfully integrate these two important elements of digital marketing. The following are three key ways to ensure that your website is optimized for social media success.

1. SOCIAL MEDIA CONNECTIONS

Before anything else, the first thing you need to do is make sure that there are links between your website and your social media accounts. While including your website URL in your social media bio is a fairly straightforward practice, far fewer companies use their website to directly link to their social media accounts.
Sure, it may take a bit of extra coding or the installation of extra apps to accomplish this for your site, but it's well worth the effort. Just like you put your website URL in your social media profile in the hope that it'll generate visitors to your site, so too do your website’s links to your social media accounts increase your likelihood of gaining new followers on these platforms. As long as these links are prominently displayed, your website can easily generate new social media followers.
That’s not your only option for generating social connections, however. Tools such as AddThis and ShareThis allow you to embed social media share buttons on each page of your site, making it easier for site visitors to share a piece of content on their own social profiles. And when sharing sidebars also include share counters - like the below example from Content Marketing Institute - it provides a level of social proof and credibility, further increasing the likelihood that visitors will view your information as trustworthy and authoritative.
If you’re not sure where to begin in this process, start with the basics - connections to Facebook and Twitter are a must, but integration with other social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest can also give your business a major boost. And if you need help, there are plenty of tools available online that can notify you if any social media elements haven't been properly integrated on your site. 


2. CONSISTENTLY PROVIDE NEW, QUALITY CONTENT
Producing unique, high-quality content isn’t only an SEO essential. If you want your website to make a legitimate contribution to your social media marketing, you need to consistently provide interesting and unique content through your blog. And the better your content is, the more likely it'll generate shares on social, thus building awareness for both your website and your various social media accounts.
And you don’t need to limit yourself to written blog posts either. Infographics, videos and other forms of content can make your website more engaging and give your followers a greater incentive to share your posts on their own social media accounts. Visual content that sparks an emotional response is much more likely to be effective in this regard.
Another bonus is that by creating quality content for your website, you also provide material that can be used in crafting your own social media posts. For example, let’s say you just published a blog post titled “6 Essential Spring Gardening Tips.” This is the perfect type of content to push through your own social media channels - especially since Buzzsumo’s analysis of the most viral content of 2015 found that posts that included practical tips, quizzes or a unique spin on trending topics tended to be among the most shared.

3. MAKE IT INTERACTIVE

Users flock to their many social media accounts for interaction, and your website can take advantage of this as well by letting users comment and generate their own content on your site. But rather than forcing site visitors to undergo a convoluted registration process to participate, you can follow the example of Mashable and others who further leverage social media to their advantage by allowing users to register with their social media accounts.

Lucas Miller-Social Media Today

March 30, 2016

INFLUENCERS MORE VALUABLE WITH INSTAGRAM CHANGES



Instagram has announced that posts to the social media platform would no longer appear in reverse chronological order, a change that will have far-reaching implications for social media marketers.
For brands with smaller social media followings, this means posts will likely be seen by fewer users, unless those users are highly engaged with the account.
“It’s more important now than ever for small- and medium-sized brands to leverage the massive reach and engagement of influencers in order to become successful in this space,” said Bryan Gold, the co-founder of #Paid, a Toronto-based marketing platform that connects brands with Instagram influencers. “Now they actually need the reach of influencers to hit their target audience, because if they only had a couple hundred followers before they were hoping to sell to, only a fraction of them will actually see the posts.”
While the effects of the recent changes to the social media platform remain minimal, Gold believes that as posts become more curated in the future, the value of influencers on Instagram will increase.
“As of right now, it’s very minimally effective. You’re still seeing a majority of your posts. Over time, though, I think they’re going to really turn the dials up on curating which posts you see,” he said. “When it gets to that point, influencer marketing is going to be possibly even more cost effective.”
Gold said that if the cost per engagement (CPE) goes down as a result of these changes, then running individual campaigns should become less expensive.
“Marketers will still get the same high quality content,” he said. “This is especially cost effective when marketers repurpose the content across multiple channels such as their own website or social channels which gives them increased credibility.”
Since launching in 2013, #Paid has helped major brands — including Microsoft xBox, Adidas and AXE — connect with Instagram influencers through its software platform. The thousands of verified influencers scattered around the world are easily searchable by category or location, and set their own price per posts.
“We’ve built out an algorithm that takes into account their followers, their average likes and their average comments and actually suggests how much they should be charging per posts, but they set their own price,” said Gold. “When brands find influencers to collaborate with it just sends them a message saying the brand is interested, and if the influencer accepts than the brand and influencer then collaborate to create compelling content together.”
The company provides both parties a platform to communicate, the ability to collaborate on and review each post before publishing and a dashboard to track campaign analytics. Each influencer must have a minimum of 5,000 followers and average levels of engagement for their category.
Gold’s main advice to marketers working with social media influencers is to focus on collaboration as opposed to dictation.
“Instead of telling the influencer what to post to meet your marketing objectives, make it more of a conversation where you let them know your marketing objectives, but take their feedback on how to reach those objectives most effectively,” he said. “The influencer sometimes knows how to reach that brand’s target audience better than the brand does, so taking the feedback of the influencer is really important.”
JARED LINDZON-Marketingmag

March 16, 2016

Google Debuts Enterprise Marketing Suite Analytics 360


Move Marks Tech Giant's First Data Management Platform Offering


Google today launched an enterprise marketing platform aimed at directly competing with similar offerings from Adobe and Oracle.
Dubbed the Google Analytics 360 Suite, it includes two former Google products -- Google Analytics Premium and Adometry -- and introduces four new ones. The product includes Audience Center 360, a data management platform that integrates with Google andDoubleClick; Optimize 360, which is used to create multiple variations of a website for different audiences; Data Studio 360, a data-visualization product; Tag Manager 360, which offers data collection and APIs to better data accuracy; Analytics 360, Google's standard measurement tool; and Attribution 360.
Audience Center, Optimize and Data Studio are all in beta. Google did not say when they would be complete.
The move is meant to help businesses better understand their audience in a multiscreen world. "[Google Analytics Suite 360's] powerful set of products are unified, providing a consistent user experience and cross-product data integrations, plus services. Simply put: it's a complete measurement platform," Paul Muret, VP of analytics, display and video products at Google, said in a statement.
The 360 Suite offers integrations with most third-party data providers and also plugs into AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing. That means marketers can combine their own data from multiple sources like CRM, websites and more to create better targeted ads for its audience, Google said.
"Sophisticated marketers who use analytics platforms are three times more likely to outperform their peers in achieving revenue goals," Mr. Muret said. "It's no wonder enterprise-class marketers have been telling us they need more from their marketing analytics tools. Many toolsets can't cope: They're too hard to use, lack sufficient collaboration capabilities, are poorly integrated, and require hard to find expertise."
Still, some marketers are taking issue with housing all of their data in Google's walled garden.
"Its entirely logical that Google would continue to more tightly integrate their various offerings, and all of these tools and services are valuable to marketers, however, there continues to be the conflict of interest between the business of maximizing yield and revenue for publishers and measuring the performance and attribution of a marketer's advertising, especially in a walled garden," said Alex White, VP-product strategy and marketing at ad-tech companySizmek. "This suite of capabilities should absolutely appeal to advertisers as there is value in having all of this functionality under one roof, but that roof is a dangerous place for a marketer to store their data assets, since the analytics and performance that they will be able to see can only be seen under that roof."
The product offerings are meant for large enterprise accounts, as the service starting costs are nearly six-digits annually to use. Additionally, the product is only in limited beta for current Google Premium account holders. Google did not offer a timeline of when it would be available to new customers.


- Advertising Age


March 15, 2016

Google AdWords average conversion rates by industry [study]


When you evaluate your Google AdWords performance and conversion rates, what are you comparing against?

If you’re like most advertisers, your primary source of insight is probably your own historical data. As long as you’re trending towards better than worse, you’re doing great… right?

Not really.

It’s important to track your performance over time and make sure you’re constantly improving, but using only your own data tells you nothing about how you’re doing against your competitors (AdWords is a live auction, after all).

We recently ran an extensive analysis of more than 2,000 client accounts in all verticals, representing over $34 million in AdWords spend, to establish current, accurate average conversion rate (CVR) benchmarks for both Search and Display ads across 20 different industries: Advocacy, Auto, B2B, Consumer Services, Dating & Personals, E-Commerce, Education, Employment Services, Finance & Insurance, Health & Medical, Home Goods, Industrial Services, Legal, Real Estate, Technology, and Travel & Hospitality.

What is the average conversion rate on Search & Display?

So how do you know whether you’re middle of the road, or getting left in the dust?

We found that on average, Google AdWords advertisers are seeing conversion rates of 2.70% on the Search network, and 0.89% on the Display network.

Benchmarks are an important consideration on top of your own data, because if you were getting 1% conversion for your Search ads and doubled it to 2%, you might think that was pretty awesome. You doubled your CVR, that’s amazing! Woot!

Except you’re still doing 0.7% crappier than the average, and the average isn’t exceptional. It’s just… average.

Don’t settle for average conversion rates – be a unicorn in a sea of donkeys

Who the heck aspires to be average?


If you aren’t even doing as good as middle of the road, average might seem pretty attractive, but you can do so much better than that.

The range on conversion rates varies so greatly that the top 10% of advertisers are regularly getting conversions FIVE TIMES better than average. Not only can you be better than average, but once you surpass that plateau, you can do incredibly well in AdWords.
It’s crazy; there are all these accounts seemingly content to hover around slightly below or slightly above average. I call these advertisers the donkeys. They stubbornly just sit there, waiting for something to happen.

But then you have the unicorns; those accounts that are not only doing better than average, but slaying the averages by converting at exponentially higher rates – up to five times higher. These advertisers enjoy not only more conversions, but typically a way lower cost, too, as more engaging ads drive higher Quality Scores and lower CPCs as a result.

Don’t be a donkey.

So which industries convert best on the Display network?
The surprising top converting industry in Google Display ads
You might think that Travel & Hospitality or maybe Dating & Personals ads would kill it on the Display network, because they’re just so much sexier and exciting than other industries, but you’d be wrong…

They actually have the lowest conversion rates among industries for Google Display ads!

So which super sexy industry does best with Display ads? Well, um… it’s Home Goods. Would you believe ads about couches, lamps, desks and other furnishings and goods for the home convert at an average rate of 2.19% in Display? That’s higher than any of the twenty other industries we evaluated.

The top five best converting industry types for Display are:
  • Home Goods with an average 2.19% CVR
  • Finance & Insurance: 1.75% avg. CVR
  • Real Estate: 1.49% avg. CVR
  • Employment Services: 1.28% avg. CVR
  • Technology: 1.04% avg. CVR
And who fares the worst? The average CVR in the Advocacy industry is an abysmal 0.37%.

Top converting industry average Search CVR is almost 3x higher than overall

In the Search network, one industry is killing it to the extent its average conversion rate is nearly three times higher than the average CVR across Search as a whole.

Insurance and Finance ads enjoy an average 7.19% conversion rate on the SERPs, a full 2.19% higher than the next highest industry average:
  1. Insurance & Finance: 7.19% avg. CVR
  2. Consumer Services: 5.00% avg. CVR
  3. Advocacy: 4.61% avg. CVR
  4. Real Estate: 4.40% avg. CVR
  5. Legal: 4.35% avg. CVR
Understanding these averages is critical, because how you fare against others in your area can seriously impact your costs and ROI. For example, you could be converting at 3.5% and think that’s pretty decent, yet find it hard to justify what you end up with as your cost per acquisition. That might leave you thinking AdWords just doesn’t work for you.

But if you’re in Consumer Services, where the average conversion rate is actually 5%, the reality is that you’re seriously underperforming. If you’re converting less than average, your ads aren’t resonating, your QS is going to suffer, and you’re going to pay MORE for each click.

Check out the average Conversion Rates across the 20 industries we analyzed and see how you stack up:


Larry Kim- Search Engine Watch

March 10, 2016

12 Things Not To Do When Using Digital Marketing In 2016



Digital marketing in 2016 comes with a new set of problems, pitfalls, technologies, innovations, strategies, and opportunities.
It also comes with plenty of chances to mess it all up.

In other articles, I’ve discussed some of the lurking dangers and problems that face digital marketers. In this article, I want to hold nothing back, and provide you with the full list of digital marketing mistakes to avoid in 2016.

Digital marketing is far too important to mess up. Watch yourself, and avoid these ghastly digital marketing mistakes.

1. Failing to identify your target audience.

Identifying your target audience is the first step in any type of marketing endeavor. Tragically, it’s also easy to overlook. Don’t make this mistake. Study your audience, and much of your marketing will take care of itself.

2. Not having a strategy at all.

Yes, it happens. Sadly, much of digital marketing relies on “tactics” and “techniques” rather than solid strategies and goals. Before you ever pick a tactic to try, form a strategy to rely on. Your online marketing strategy will be your guiding light as you engage in the wild world of marketing.

3. Forgetting about mobile.Mobilegeddon may have happened in 2015, but we’re still living in the wake of its impact. If you aren’t functioning with a mobile-first strategy, you are alienating more than half of your potential audience. Mobile optimization is a key ingredient both for conversions and content, so keep it at the front of your mind when forming your digital marketing strategy.

4. Rejecting SEO.

The SEO-is-dead myth has been around almost as long as SEO has been a thing. Now, in an age of artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms, more marketers are willing to say “What gives?” and leave SEO well enough alone. This is a mistake. Why? Because SEO remains (and will continue to remain) one of the building blocks of a technologically sound and competitive web presence. Without an understanding of SEO, your marketing presence will falter and fail. You don’t have to know everything there is to know about SEO. Just get the basics, and you should be fine.

5. Not doing any conversion optimization.

There was an era in digital marketing when it was okay not to do conversion optimization. That time is far gone. Failure to conduct regular and careful split testing is a recipe for decline. Don’t be afraid of it. Yes, it requires some technical chops and an eye for analytics, but most CRO software eliminates the need for in-depth knowledge.

6. Trying every digital marketing tactic in the book.

Since there are a few hundred thousand tactics available for your choosing, you’re going to get bogged down fast. The best method for avoiding tactic overwhelm is to 1) figure out what your audience wants, 2) identify where they are, and 3) adopt a strategy to reach them. With this kind of laser focus, many tactics will fall to the wayside.

7. Using every social media platform available.

A close cousin of the “trying every digital marketing tactic” mistake is “using every social media platform.” I’ve watched hundreds of digital marketers make this massive mistake. It’s obviously important to have a social media strategy. But when you try to blanket the social media universe with your brand presence, you’re going to fall short. Why? Because social media channels require a ton of time and energy. If you try to go all out on each one, you’re going to burn out very quickly. A better approach? Pick the top three platforms where your audience hangs out, and give these all your energy.

8. Paying for followers.

Just don’t. Boosted posts and promoted tweets are one thing, but paying for a few followers on Fiverr or some other platform is shady at best.

9. Link building.

Link building (done wrong) is an old SEO tactic that got websites into trouble. Thankfully, most SEOs and marketers are beyond this point, but it bears repeating: Don’t do “link building” as it was traditionally performed. There are ways to do it correctly, so take heed.

10. Neglecting content marketing.

Content marketing should form the core of any digital marketing strategy. We have not yet reached the point at which content marketing has diminished in effectiveness. Using content aggressively, strategically, and expertly will take your marketing where you want it to go.

11. Having no marketing budget.

If you get stingy with your marketing budget, one of two things will happen. First, you realize your mistake and get desperate, dipping into other funds, which messes up your entire business plan. Second, you have no budget, so you do no marketing, and your business fails to take off. Either way, you run the distinct risk of destroying your business. Instead of shortcircuiting your business with no marketing budget, release a few funds to get the ball rolling. This is especially critical for startup businesses that have little to no market penetration.

12. Expecting huge results in no time.

Digital marketing takes time. Yes, you’ll see some measurable results in a relatively short time. However, stay realistic about the time it takes to achieve goals.

Conclusion

It’s easy to make mistakes. I get that. I’ve made a ton of my own.
Thankfully, each of the mistakes listed above can be overcome. But it would be better not to make them in the first place.
You won’t have a flawless year of digital marketing, but it can be better. Let’s see where you’ll go.

Neil Patel- Contributor- FORBES

March 9, 2016

KIT AND ACE TRIES FACEBOOK CANVAS ADS ON FOR SIZE


Kit and Ace has made it clear its clothes are not for yoga, but they may be perfect for an impromptu sidewalk-painting session, based on the company’s early experiment with Facebook’s Canvas ad creation tool.
Launched less than two weeks ago, Facebook Canvas has been described as an advertising version of the company’s Instant Articles – a tool for creating immersive, rich media ads that will appear natively and play automatically in a Facebook user’s News Feed. Canvas doesn’t require coding and offers a drag-and-drop interface to add videos, product catalogues, carousels and other elements.
Kit and Ace’s first ad using Facebook Canvas evokes the act of painting with black and white-clad characters making sweeping motions as a can of milky white paint is poured onto a black surface, eventually creating a sort of crosswalk.

“It allowed us to tell our story in a different way,” JJ Wilson, head of brand at Kit and Ace, told Marketing.  “One of the technical benefits and functionality of our proprietary fabric is that it helps people move. Leveraging video allowed us to show that.”
So far, Facebook users have spent an average of 36 seconds watching the Kit and Ace Canvas ad, which has led to more than 500 offline sales conversions. According to early reports, there have been even bigger results for those who have invested early. Wendy’s, for example, has reported an average of 65 seconds spent on its Facebook Canvas ads, with 3% of viewers clicking through to find the nearest location.
During the public launch of Facebook Canvas, which was live streamed, product manager Zach Hendlin said the company will be trying to make the economics of using the product as simple as creating an ad in it.
“We won’t charge by the number of things you put in a Canvas ad,” he said. “You build it like any other post and it’s ranked as everything else is. To an advertiser, you pay nothing beyond what you would for an ad on Facebook.” That said, Facebook should be able to provide insights on how long people are spending on an ad in order to help improve ad creative over time.
Wilson said the simplicity of Canvas is helpful because it allows Kit and Ace to easily test what using video will look like and to ensure it’s on brand.
“I’d measure it in two ways: analytical things like clicks and overall brand value, or building brand equity,” he said, adding that a big plus to using Facebook is its ability to target locally. “We’re looking to push stories and localize certain aspects of what our brand does — how you’re moving from a subway and commuting up the stairs and getting into your office. For us, it’s really about movement through your whole day.”
SHANE SCHICK- Marketing Mag
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