The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2016

The online marketing industry is complex and volatile, but an exciting one for anybody who stays up on modern trends. Each year, new hardware, new software, new companies, and new user preferences dictate a host of sweeping changes that either get adopted or ignored by the businesses of the world. Early adopters get a leg up on the competition, appealing to new markets or cementing their reputations as industry leaders, while those lagging behind miss out on a key opportunity to retain their positions.

2016 looks to be a great year for online marketing, and I anticipate it shaking up the game with these seven trends:

1. Video ads will start dominating. Video ads are certainly nothing new, with social channels like YouTube dedicated to hosting billions of videos and advertising platforms like Facebook and Bing already offering advertisers video options. 2016 is set to be different because Google is finally getting on board with in-SERP video advertising. It’s a sign that users are becoming more accepting of video ads online, and as that trend continues, expect to see more types of video ads popping up in more unexpected places. With Google’s ownership of YouTube, the possibilities are virtually limitless.

2. App indexing will lead to an explosion of apps. Google has offered app indexing for a while, but as the ranking possibilities for apps become more complex, 2016 will be the year more business owners realize the online visibility advantages of a dedicated app. A mobile-optimized site works wonders for appealing to the mobile crowd, but soon, apps will begin to replace them. Apps can do everything that websites can, except in more intuitive, convenient, accessible ways. We’re still several years away from apps completely replacing websites as a medium, but 2016 will be a pivotal year in app adoption from business owner’s perspectives.

3. Mobile will completely dominate desktop. 2015 was a big year for mobile—not only did Google announce that mobile traffic finally overtook desktop traffic in 10 different countries, it was also the year they released the “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update to phase out sites not optimized for mobile. But apparently, you don’t have to have an optimized desktop site in addition to a mobile version—according to Google, a mobile-only site with no desktop counterpart is perfectly acceptable. This alone won’t be enough to drive down desktop traffic, but it’s clear what side of the fence Google’s on; they’re banking on desktop traffic fading away, meaning the smart money rests on mobile-focused online marketing.

4. Digital assistants will lead to a new kind of optimization. Search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are two highly popular strategies for getting your site seen by thousands of previously unknown visitors. But the rise of digital assistants is going to lead to a new kind of optimization. Digital assistants like Siri and Cortana do utilize traditional search engines, but only when necessary to find information. The key to optimizing in this new format is to make sure your business information is easily accessible to these assistants, rather than trying to funnel people to your site specifically.

5. Virtual reality will emerge. There are dozens of different virtual reality devices set to release in the next few years, some of which are dedicated for specific applications like video games, and others which are available for general use. Oculus Rift, arguably the most hyped VR device, is set to release in the first quarter of 2016. Oculus Rift and other VR devices will introduce an entire new medium of online advertising, with integration to popular social media platforms, video channels, and even forms of direct messaging. There’s always a chance VR could fizzle as a temporary fad, but there are billions of dollars of funding in limbo, ready to bet otherwise.

6. Wearable technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) will pave new ground. While not quite to the level of virtual reality, wearable “smart” devices should start gaining more traction into 2016. 2015 saw the unveiling of the Apple Watch, a first-generation smart watch, but more smart watches and similar wearable devices should start emerging next year. Such devices will change the landscape of local marketing, and will do more to blur the lines between “online” marketing and “real” marketing.

Local Business Marketing Trends for 2016

Heading into Q4, now is the time to start thinking about what your business’s goals will be in the next year, including how you’ll to organize your budget and what your overall marketing plan will include.

You already know the organization of your current digital marketing channels — from SEO to coupons and deals — and which were the most effective for you this past year. Going into the next year, you’ll want to make sure that your local business takes advantage of 2016 digital marketing trends so that you can reach new customers that use these mediums.

This article will provide you with guidance about how to structure the different pieces of your marketing plan — 2016 digital marketing trends included — so that you can build a successful marketing strategy. From the up-and-coming social networks to the next mobile device your local business can use for quick customer check-outs, we’ve got the most important 2016 digital marketing trends that can help you start the year on the right foot.


PREDICTION

Instagram will take off

Since Facebook purchased Instagram in 2012, the social media giant has been consistently making small changes to the photo-sharing platform. In late 2015 and 2016, all these smaller changes will start to culminate into big developments on the platform.

2016 digital marketing trends, instagram takes off

Facebook is now the social media network that every local business needs to have a Business Page on, accompanied by an advertising package so that you can reach the followers you worked hard to amass.

Reaching your followers on Facebook with a post used to be free — just like it currently is on Instagram. However, with Instagram offering advertising in the form of “sponsored posts,” we predict that soon you’ll have to pay to ensure that your post is seen by your followers (just like you do on Facebook).

Instagram advertising gets strong results for its advertisers. The photo-sharing app says that their ad recall is 2.8x higher than other online advertising platforms, making it an attractive option for those businesses looking to get the most bang for their marketing buck.

Ad recall on Instagram is 2.8xhigher than other online advertising platforms.

New tools that combine trending topics on Facebook and Instragam, such asSignal, are further proof that Facebook plans to continue integrating Instagram into its platform. As the two continue to be more tightly integrated, Instagram will certainly become a bigger and bigger player in the 2016 digital marketing trend arena.

It has been predicted that by 2017 Instagram will have $2.8 billion in advertising sales (it already has $600 million in advertising revenue YTD for 2015). Instagram is available exclusively via mobile and tablet apps, positioning it for a clear leadership role as small business marketing shifts to mobile.

CONCLUSION

Expand your social media presence on the network that will get the most user engagement in 2016: Instagram.


PREDICTION

Search will expand beyond search engines

Search is moving beyond Google, Bing and Yahoo and onto social networks where search capabilities are expanding.

Pinterest jumped into the search engine game, expanding its search algorithm and incorporating “guided searches.” Pinterest isn’t the only one in the search game either; Facebook is already working on tests for its own search engine and Twitter is, once again, being indexed by Google so that public tweets are seen on both the micro-blogging network and the wider Internet.

88% of consumers are influenced by reviews and comments online and the ability to search on Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube will connect people to these comments quickly. For small businesses that have been monitoring and building up the amount of positive customer reviews on social media sites, such as Facebook, you’ll be pleased to hear one of the side effects of a search engine: your business’s reviews are about to get a lot more attention because they will show up in searches.

2016 digital marketing trends

CONCLUSION

Expanded search means that your business needs to invest in expanding your listings and start monitoring social more closely. Not only should your local businesses claim a social profile on every popular network (Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yelp and LinkedIn), but you also need to be able to respond to what may be said about it online.

If you’re looking for help with reputation management, The Berry Company provides a service that you can use to track everything being said about your business. With this reputation management service, you’ll be able to learn what is being said about your business and also respond to it.


PREDICTION

Targeting will be the new black

As the digital market continues to expand, the more consumer data it collects along the way. With all this data, more sophisticated targeting algorithms can be created to help you get better results by using more targeted messaging.

Depending on the state of your business’s online marketing strategy, targeted messaging can be a good or bad thing.You’ll be excited about targeted data if you have a comprehensive local online marketing program that you would like to refine and get more qualified results out of. You’ll be bummed if you don’t use local online marketing because your competitors are — and they’ll be able to reach more local customers than you can.

CONCLUSION

Take advantage of targeting by starting pay-per-click or re-marketing display ad campaigns. As more and more data is added to the funnel, your ads will automatically take advantage of new targeting capabilities.


PREDICTION

Mobile payments will skyrocket

With the development of Apply Pay and the reliance on cell phones, mobile payments will have a steep increase this year.

In 2015, nearly 15% of Starbucks customers already began paying for their daily latte fix with their mobile devices. As a whole, nearly 60% of consumers use their smartphone to pay, so that they receive some sort of reward or benefit from the business.

Furthermore, mobile technology continues to become more and more affordable, as demonstrated at Apple’s latest conference with its line of iPhones. As prices continue to drop, smartphones will replace older phones — eliminating limited payment functionality.

CONCLUSION

As mobile technology becomes more affordable, mobile payments will continue to penetrate the market. Start looking into different platforms and hardware that your business can invest in to accept mobile payments.


PREDICTION

Webrooming will become as important as showrooming

Consumers want to know exactly what they will be buying before they make a purchase, consulting 10+ sources before making a purchase.

Now these savvy-shoppers can use the web want to see how a product or service will fit in their lifestyle before they head to the store to make a purchase. By showcasing your product or service, or “webrooming” (it took me a minute to get that, web-rooming for anyone like me who didn’t get it ), you can help a consumer imagine how your product/service fits into their lifestyle.

ikea on instagram

Ikea does a remarkable job of marketing their products to many generations, from millennials who prefer webrooming, to baby boomers who are used to showrooms and window shopping.

CONCLUSION

Pick up a few of Ikea’s out-of-the-box marketing strategies to expand your offline experience with your online one.


PREDICTION

Video will get the most views

Video has been a part of many online marketing strategies for years, but 2016 will make video the center of attention.

From 2013-2015 there was a 360% increase in video views. Facebook jumped on the video bandwagon and began hosting videos to keep more users on their network (instead of sending them to YouTube).

CONCLUSION

Your local business can leverage video in 2016, too. Share (and host when available) videos so that you can to attract more views to your content and your business.

Video is an incredibly versatile medium. From showcasing a product to sharing behind the scenes look at your business, start creating videos to drive up your customer engagement.


It may be 2015, but these 2016 digital marketing trends will have a big impact on your 2016 budget and strategy. Make sure you stay in the know with the latest digital marketing trends for local business by subscribing to the LocalVox blog which will also help you implement and track your marketing success.

Yahoo & Google Together Again In New Search Deal

Three year deal to put Google’s results and ads into some of Yahoo’s search results needs US Department of Justice approval and still might get vetoed by India or EU action.

 

google-yahoo-2015d-1920

Reunited, and it feels so good. Well, we’ll see if that line from the classic song plays out for Yahoo, which has revealed it wants to be together with Google again in a deal for search results. The deal excludes Europe, almost certainly to avoid anti-trust issues there. It also will depend on US Department of Justice approval.

The Deal, In Summary

As part of today’s Yahoo earning news, it revealed a new search deal with Google:

In October, the Company reached an agreement with Google that provides Yahoo with additional flexibility to choose among suppliers of search results and ads. Google’s offerings complement the search services provided by Microsoft, which remains a strong partner, as well as Yahoo’s own search technologies and ad products.

Wondering how Yahoo and Google can be together, when Yahoo is supposed to be with Microsoft? What we mean by Yahoo and Google being together again? And what’s in the deal? Come along.

Isn’t Yahoo With Microsoft?

If you’re thinking that Yahoo and Microsoft have a search deal, you remember correctly. They do and renewed that in April of this. year. Our FAQ: The New Yahoo-Microsoft Deal, Explained story also had more background on that.

As part of the renewal, Yahoo agreed that Bing’s ads would appear on 51% of the desktop searches that Yahoo delivers. The other 49% could be “powered” by Yahoo’s own ad system or from any third-party that Yahoo wanted to use.

As it turns out, by July, Yahoo was spotted testing using Google’s search results and ads. Clearly, Yahoo liked how it went. Now it’s planning to do more.

And Yahoo Had Been With Google Before?

Years ago — back in 2000 — Yahoo was partnered with Google to carry both Google’s search results and ads. That partnership maintained for many years, until Yahoo eventually developed its own in-house search technology and ad serving systems in 2004.

Yahoo gave up its own internal search technology when its search deal with Microsoft was formally established and got the go-ahead in 2010. But as that deal never performed as expected, and Yahoo’s been especially looking over the past two years for ways to generate more revenue from search beyond its deal with Microsoft.

What’s In The New 3-Year Google Deal?

Let’s go to the Form 8-K filing on the deal and look at the officialese, which I’ll break down as best I can into regular speak:

On October 19, 2015, Yahoo! Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Yahoo”), and Google Inc., a Delaware corporation (“Google”), entered into a Google Services Agreement (the “Services Agreement”). The Services Agreement is effective as of October 1, 2015 and expires on December 31, 2018.

Right off, we’re talking just over a three-year term. However, the agreement can end early for various reasons, as explained more below.

Google To Power Both Mobile & Desktop

Next up, this:

Pursuant to the Services Agreement, Google will provide Yahoo with search advertisements through Google’s AdSense for Search service (“AFS”), web algorithmic search services through Google’s Websearch Service, and image search services. The results provided by Google for these services will be available to Yahoo for display on both desktop and mobile platforms.

Basically, this says that Yahoo can show Google’s search results. And by search results, that means both the editorial “free” listings as well as the ads. Yahoo needs to serve both, because it has no editorial listings of its own, no crawler that combs the web for such content. And Yahoo probably can’t — or can’t afford — to show Google ads against editorial listings provided by Microsoft’s Bing search engine.

Could Yahoo Go Over 51% On Mobile With Google?

Yahoo also can use these results for both mobile and desktop. On desktop, it’s limited to a cap of 49% that potentially could come from Google, as Microsoft is guaranteed the other 51%.

On mobile, Yahoo has no such limit. There, it could choose to fully serve out Google results even at the expense of its own Gemini ads system.

Deal Excludes Europe, Probably For Anti-Trust Reasons

The deal is for these regions:

Yahoo may use Google’s services on Yahoo’s owned and operated properties (“Yahoo Properties”) and on certain syndication partner properties (“Affiliate Sites”) in the United States (U.S.), Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Middle East, Africa, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela, Peru, Australia and New Zealand.

You can see all of North America is covered. Several Asian countries are included, as are Australia and New Zealand. Parts of South America are also covered. What’s missing? Europe.

Why not Europe? Google already has an anti-trust action happening against it in the European Union. It probably does not want the attention or criticism of doing a deal with Yahoo there, especially with Google already having a 90% or more marketshare in many EU countries.

Yahoo Has Flexibility, Could Skip Google Search Entirely

Next, this:

Under the Services Agreement, Yahoo has discretion to select which search queries to send to Google and is not obligated to send any minimum number of search queries. The Services Agreement is non-exclusive and expressly permits Yahoo to use any other search advertising services, including its own service, the services of Microsoft Corporation or other third parties.

Basically, this says that Yahoo doesn’t have to guarantee anything to Google. It could decide to send no queries to Google, if it wanted to.

Yahoo Gets Cut Of Ads, Amount Not Said; Image Search Named

How about getting paid? Well…

Google will pay Yahoo a percentage of the gross revenues from AFS ads displayed on Yahoo Properties or Affiliate Sites. The percentage will vary depending on whether the ads are displayed on U.S. desktop sites, non-U.S. desktop sites or on the tablet or mobile phone versions of the Yahoo Properties or its Affiliate Sites. Yahoo will pay Google fees for requests for image search results or web algorithmic search results.

This is pretty standard, saying that Yahoo will get a percentage of what Google makes off its ads that are shown on the Yahoo network.

That percentage can — and probably will — vary depending on whether it’s from desktop or mobile.

Interestingly, there’s no minimum guarantee from Google to be paid to Yahoo. That’s sometimes the case in these deals. It was in the original Yahoo-Microsoft deal.

Finally, Yahoo is obligated to pay Google if it uses its editorial (“algorithmic”) search results for web listings or images. This is likely to ensure that Yahoo doesn’t take Google’s listings but shows Yahoo’s own ads against them. In such a case, Google would be earning nothing yet providing a service.

Terminating In Case Of US Opposition

At the end, we get this:

Either party may terminate the Services Agreement

(1) upon a material breach subject to certain limitations;

(2) in the event of a change in control (as defined in the Services Agreement);

(3) after first discussing with the other party in good faith its concerns and potential alternatives to termination

(a) in its entirety or in the U.S. only, if it reasonably anticipates litigation or a regulatory proceeding brought by any U.S. federal or state agency to enjoin the parties from consummating, implementing or otherwise performing the Services Agreement,

(b) in part, in a country other than the U.S., if either party reasonably anticipates litigation or a regulatory proceeding or reasonably anticipates that the continued performance under the Services Agreement in such country would have a material adverse impact on any ongoing antitrust proceeding in such country,

Some history here. Back in 2008, Yahoo wanted to do a deal with Google. The US Department of Justice decided that would be bad on competitive grounds, so the companies abandoned that.

The DoJ decision left Yahoo with Microsoft as pretty much the only choice for doing a deal. As a result, the deal that Microsoft eventually offered to Yahoo in 2009 was much less lucrative than the one it offered in 2008, when it was competing with Google.

In the years since, the deal arguably has helped Yahoo drop from a second-place search engine in the US with its own search technology to a third-place competitor that’s dependent on others.

Clearly, there’s a fear that the US competition authorities still might not favor a Yahoo-Google tie-up, despite the fact that Yahoo is less dominant than it last was and a potential argument that the previous DoJ objection helped lead to Yahoo’s current decline.

In fact, at the end of the filing, there’s this:

In connection with the Services Agreement, Yahoo and Google have agreed to certain procedures with the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) to facilitate review of the Services Agreement by the DOJ, including delaying the implementation of the Services Agreement in the U.S. in order to provide the DOJ with a reasonable period of review.

This is all going to the Department of Justice for review. If approved, the companies will move ahead. Unless….

The EU And India Get Final Word

Even though the deal isn’t involving Europe, the agreement has termination language that involves possible EU objections:

(c) in its entirety if either party reasonably anticipates a filing by the European Commission to enjoin it from performing the Services Agreement or that continued performance of the Services Agreement would have a material adverse impact on any ongoing antitrust proceeding involving either party in Europe or India, or

The deal does involve India, where Google also faces anti-trust scrutiny, so the language including India makes more sense.

Google is almost certainly so paranoid that the agreement might impact its on-going anti-trust actions in both the EU and India that if gets the idea either political entity will object, the whole deal could be closed.

Other Termination Reasons

There’s a few last boilerplate reason the agreement might be terminated:

(d) in its entirety, on 60 days notice if [sic] the other party’s exercise of these termination rights in this clause

(3) has collectively and materially diminished the economic value of the Services Agreement.

Each party agrees to defend or settle any lawsuits or similar actions related to the Services Agreement unless doing so is not commercially reasonable (taking all factors into account, including without limitation effects on a party’s brand or business outside of the scope of the Services Agreement).

In addition, Google may suspend Yahoo’s use of services upon certain events and may terminate the Services Agreement if such events are not cured. Yahoo may terminate the Services Agreement if Google breaches certain service level and server latency specified in the Services Agreement.

If I read this correctly, either party could end with 60 days notice for any reason. Just because. There’s also a nebulous “certain events” that aren’t itemized, unknown reasons Google could terminate. Yahoo can drop if Google doesn’t serve content up quickly enough.

Stay Tuned For More!

The deal is a big deal, even if Yahoo is no longer the search powerhouse it once was. We’ll have further coverage of reaction and more details, as the emerge, so stay tuned to Search Engine Land.

How Effective Is Your Ecommerce Campaign?

Are you getting the most bang for your buck?

PPC management for ecommerce campaigns tests the skills and bidding strategies of even the most seasoned expert. You may be thinking “my campaign is doing ok right now,” but take a step back – Is it as effective as it can be? Is it efficient and structured in a way that isn’t a chaotic mess? Are you continuously enhancing your ROAS?

At Hanapin, we ask ourselves these questions all the time and with some big brands as clients, we have to be up to snuff with our tactics, strategies, and expansion ideas. We also realize how important conversion rate optimization is when it comes to any PPC campaign and making sure that everything is cohesive (particularly for ecommerce…I mean how mad does it make you when you click an ad for those cute red high heels and end up on a product page with Nike running shoes??). And even more, optimizing your product pages, category pages, and your product feeds.

So we teamed up with experts from Visual Website Optimizer (also known as Wingify) for a new webinar today to lay out some advanced tactics for both PPC and CRO to supercharge the effectiveness of your ecommerce campaigns

Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect from the webinar:

We’ll be talking about how you can front-load your most valuable terms utilizing SQRs and how to highlight the differentiators.

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We’ll be talking about why looking at just the last click is misleading and could negatively impact your sales if you aren’t careful. We’ll also be going through different attribution models you SHOULD look at and the important info you can glean from it.

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A Visual Website Optimizer expert will be talking about how you can optimize your product pages and your category pages and the specific areas you need to focus on for these pages to improve effectiveness.

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5 Ways Social Data Can Enhance Marketing Data

Social Data

The nature of social media – public, real time, immediate – and the abundance of data collected on users, activity and engagement, provide a greenfield of opportunities to use social data to enhance and support marketing data.

Here are five ways social data can be used to enhance marketing data.

1. Use Social Data to Provide Added Value for Ad Selling

Online publishers have been selling ads based on data like visits, pageviews, subscribers, and impressions. But social data can be used to enhance the value of online publishers by proving larger circulation through social profiles, impressions on social networks and increased reach through shares.

Media kits should start to include social data as the added value the publisher provide to advertisers as well as post-advertisement reports that include impressions, reach, and engagement.

Additionally, publishers can add value by providing advertisers with the exact details on engaged-audience including the actual users who engaged with their content.

2. Use Social Data to Enhance TV Ratings Data

Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings

Nielsen recently add Nielsen Social as part of the TV rating offering by looking at people who tweet about TV shows and their audience. But social data can enhance more than just simple ratings and provide insight into the type of audience engaged with TV shows as well as the types of engagement.

Networks and cable TV can start looking at social data to make decision about the life or death of their programming beyond the traditional rating system and can provide the social data as an added value for advertisers.

In today’s DVR-heavy watching habits, ratings for live TV only give the networks partial information on how well their programming is doing with their audience. This data might have been able to save Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

3. Use Engagement Data to Test Messaging

Social media provides marketers with a cheap and quick way to test messaging with a highly targeted audience. By crafting several messages you can post to social media and measure the engagement levels each message generated with your audience.

Running simple A/B tests, poll questions, or even just asking your audience via tweets, LinkedIn messages, or Facebook posts, you can garner insight on the resonance of messages before you invest heavily in one message or another.

Companies that utilize social media as a testing field for messages, new product offerings, and validation of strategic direction can be better informed about their decisions by analyzing the engagement data in cross reference to the audience that engaged as well as to the way they engaged.

4. Use Social Ads Data to Test Creative

The emergence of social ads offers brands access to audience without the efforts of building that audience organically. In addition, most social ad platform include ad optimization as an integral part of the platform.

Marketers can utilize these platforms to test ad creative before they roll out major, expensive ad campaigns. Use engagement data to evaluate how well your ads are doing and what creative works better with your audience.

The hyper targeting the social platforms offer can ensure that your test is being done on a select, targeted audience without “tainting” your entire addressable market with test campaigns.

5. Use Social Trends to Research Keywords

Unlike in search, social media provides immediate feedback on keyword trends. Using data from the social networks you can uncover keywords and phrases that are on the upswing before they become completely apparent on organic search and this way create content that will get a head start on organic search.

Use tools like Twitter Trends, hashtag research tools, or social media measurement solutions to learn what keywords are getting more traction with your audience and what keyword trends are forming.

You can later insert these keywords into your editorial calendar and create content that will be optimized for queries and phrases that are already in use by your audience.

Summary

The integration of social data with traditional marketing data can enhance your understanding of trends and user behavior, and also can be used as an added value for publishers and advertisers.

The trend of incorporating social data into other data sources is only beginning; do you have any other ideas on how to use it?

How to Measure the Social Success of Content Marketing

Content marketing is often a key component of digital marketing strategies. Utilizing social media is frequently a key driver in content marketing success.

Knowing how to measure the impact that social media has on content marketing efforts is of utmost importance if you want to accurately measure success. 

Before you can begin to accurately measure success, you need to ensure that you have accurate data. Without accurate data, you will be looking at a very murky representation of the results. This begins with implementing a robust system to tag all links to your sites content that you put out on social channels.

The process of tagging these links also needs to be ingrained in anyone involved in promoting the content on external sites. Without continuous and proper tagging, you will be left with gaps in your data. This can be done using a simple spreadsheet or by using a more advanced campaign URL tracking tool.

The key piece of tagging links is to make sure there are parameters that can be keyed in on to measure each individual link across various social channels.

Using Google Analytics as an example, there are five parameters that can be used. They are:

  • utm_source
  • utm_campaign
  • utm_medium
  • utm_content
  • utm_term

Utilizing these parameters will allow you to key in on any piece of content and segment it to see exactly which links posted on which sites delivered the best results.

As a very rudimentary example, let’s say you’re trying to generate interest in Product XYZ using content marketing on social channels and have two blog posts that will be used to drive interest.

Each blog post will be promoted on both your Facebook page and Twitter account. By appending the following parameters, you would create four unique URLs that would allow you to track each of the posted links separately in Google Analytics or segment by any combination of the parameters.

Onsite Metrics

Once you have the system in place to ensure proper tagging of URLs, you can begin to analyze onsite metrics related to the content that is promoted in social channels. Utilizing the custom reports feature in Google Analytics is likely the best way to access the data.

You can customize both how you segment and drill in to the data using the various parameters as dimensions as well as customizing which metrics are included in the report. This will provide you with the greatest flexibility in how you view your data.

While you can see metrics such as visits, goal completions, transactions, and revenue in custom reports, there are a few key metrics that are currently unavailable. These metrics are related to assists, which can be critically important especially if content marketing is utilized more heavily at the top of the sales funnel.

Currently, to see assist related metrics, you either have to go through the standard reports or use the API. This makes it a bit more complicated to get all the data you need, but the combined data puts you on the right path to proper measurement of content marketing in social channels. Since the data can’t be combined in a single report in Google Analytics, you will want to export the data to Excel where it can be combined with the relevant offsite metrics.

Offsite Metrics

Now that you’re measuring what is happening on your own site, the next step is to include offsite metrics that come from your posts on the various social channels. Since this post doesn’t get into advanced techniques, I’ll stick to just Facebook and Twitter for the sake of keeping it simple.

Unless you’re using a robust social media analytics tool, it will be a bit of a manual process to pull the data you need. Also, the process will vary slightly between Facebook and Twitter.

For starters, you need to keep a list of all your posts and tweets that contain links back to your sites content. This will allow you to go back to those posts and tweets and pull performance related metrics for each of them and then tie that data in with the related Google Analytics data. Doing so will provide a fairly complete picture of how the content that you share on social channels performs both on and off your site.

A variety of metrics are available for the posts and tweets related to the promotion of your sites content that can be tracked, but I’ll stick to two fairly simple categories. The two categories are exposure and engagement, which should be tracked for each individual post or tweet that directs people to your sites content.

Exposure

Exposure is fairly straightforward for Facebook since Facebook Insights provides it to you as the reach number at the post level. Since you have been keeping a list of posts that have links pointing people to your sites content, it’s just a matter of pulling the reach number for each relevant post.

Twitter, however, isn’t that easy. As of now, Twitter doesn’t provide the number of people who have been exposed to your tweets.

While admittedly quite flawed, one way to estimate an exposure figure for your tweets would be to take the sum of your followers and the followers of anyone who retweeted your original tweet. Tthis is a very rough estimate as there’s no way to know which of your followers saw the tweet, who may have seen it as a result of hashtags that you used, or anyone else who may have come across the tweet through other means.

Engagement

The second offsite metric category is engagement which can be broken down into three sub-categories – communications, endorsements, and distributions.

  • Communications: For Facebook, communications is the number of comments received on your post. It is easily retrieved from Facebook Insights by clicking on the number value listed in the Talking About This column of the Page Posts section. For Twitter, the communications value is the number of replies received. To retrieve these values manually, you will have to go through and find each relevant tweet and count the number of replies.
  • Endorsements: Endorsements are likes in Facebook and favorites in Twitter. While they aren’t exactly apples to apples, they are both indications that the individual enjoyed your post or tweet. To get the metric value in Facebook Insights, you again click on the number value listed in the Talking About This column of the Page Posts section. Twitter is again a more manual process since you have to go through and find each individual tweet that is relevant and pull the number of times that it was marked as a favorite.
  • Distributions: Shares and retweets represent distributions on Facebook and Twitter respectively. Just like with communications and endorsements, distributions is retrieved in Facebook by going to the Page Posts section and clicking on the number value for the relevant tweet in the Talking About This column. In Twitter, you again have to go find each relevant tweet and document the number of retweets that were generated.

Once you have all the data, you can compile it in a simple spreadsheet that tracks the performance each piece of content. The table below is an example of how the data could be brought together in a spreadsheet. Once the data is in place, you can then utilize pivot tables in Excel to segment or key in on any combination of the first five columns.

content-marketing-success-spreadsheet

While this manual process can be quite tedious and time intensive, it’s a starting point which can be used to begin to understand the impact that social channels have on content marketing. Robust social media analytics tools can automate this process for you, so once value is proven, it is likely worthwhile to look into the options that are available to you.

Regardless of if you measure using a manual process or with an automated tool, the key is to make sure you’re measuring results as accurately as you possibly can. Without proper measurement you will otherwise be left guessing and it’s hard to justify the impact that social media has on content marketing if you don’t have the data to back it up.

6 Targeting Methods To Reach Your Business Audience Via LinkedIn

Most B2B marketers have a list of potential buyers at specific companies that they would like to reach. It can be very difficult to selectively target this audience via PPC Search ads or banner campaigns. Even behavioral targeting has its limitations.

Your next move… LinkedIn Ads:  https://www.linkedin.com/ads/

LinkedIn Ads is an offering from the popular professional networking site that provides many targeting options and cost-effective innovative ways to reach your audience.

Campaigns can be created to target a specific message, product, general brand, promote a web conference or anything you want to make sure your audience is aware of.

Here’s a look at how you can use specific targeting options to make your LinkedIn Ads campaign work for you.

Step 1: Create Your Ad

This process is similar to other ad networks we all use to promote brands, products and offerings. Make sure the messaging in line with what you want your audience to do…buy a product, sign up for a conference, add a new service offering or just plain remember your brand. Don’t forget to include your company’s logo. Brand awareness is key and helpful.

As you can see in the image above, ads can be simple text or include an image. The headline allows for 25 characters and the body text can span two lines with a total of 75 characters.

Step 2: Determine Audience Targeting

This is where the real value of LinkedIn Ads is… very granular audience targeting! Here is a summary of the six main ways B2B marketers can target business buyers.

Geo-Targeting

Pick your continent, pick your country, pick your state, region, pick your metro. You can target your audience right down to their exact location. While this is similar to many ad networks just wait and see what else you can do…

Industry Targeting

Targets can be selected based on the industry they serve. You can reach those in agriculture, arts, construction, education, government — to list a few.

There are even more specific categories within those broad industry categories. Be mindful that you can only select up to 10 industries. If you need to reach more industries, I recommend that you create separate campaigns. This approach also allows you to offer more relevant ads.

Company Targeting

You can select your audience based on the company they work for (or have worked). Do you have a list of leads that you want to notify about your latest product offering or conference? Create a campaign and remind them they need to sign up or update their product.

Selecting companies by their size is also available so if you need to reach small business you can opt-out of companies that may be too big for your offering.

Role/Title Targeting

Only need marketing managers? Skip the C Level and go straight to the Marketing department. Know the exact job function you want to reach? Simply enter the specific job titles.

Targeting the right people has never been easier. This feature is great if, for example, you are trying to increase registrations for a conference that would be helpful to Fortune 500 Marketing teams.

Group Targeting

Are you trying to reach a certain group of people not necessarily based on their company or job function, but rather groups they are members of …yeah you can do that too. For instance, B2B marketers may want to reach members of organizations relevant to a certain industry.

One example: targeting a CPA group because your business offers software for financial auditing.

Demographic Targeting

Finally, do you only want to find women or individuals in their 30’s…you can reach them through LinkedIn’s targeting offerings.  All you have to do is opt in.

Step 3:  Optional ReTargeting

You can keep your ads running outside of the LinkedIn platform by opting in to the LinkedIn Network which allows you to follow that Marketing Manager that you are targeting if they visit any site in the Network. This option is similar to PPC search retargeting – across various content/display networks.

Target Your Business Buyer

For B2B Marketers reaching your exact audience has never been easier. Setting-up a LinkedIn Ads campaign is at your fingertips. And remember, this isn’t about driving the biggest click-thru-rate this is about reminding prospects of your business, product, or upcoming conference. This is about awareness.

If I remember anything from my advertising studies at Penn State its frequency, frequency, frequency…and LinkedIn Ads offers this in an affordable, highly-targeted format.