Analytics

 


Social Media Marketing For a Millennial Audience

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Editor's Note: Luisa Brenton is a former brand developer, and currently works as an educational blogger. Today she joins us to discuss how brands can more effectively tailor their social media marketing strategies to a millennial demographic.

 

Whenever developing a marketing strategy, brands should spend time considering their target demographic. Unsurprisingly, selling products and services to millennials requires a very different approach than launching a generic social marketing strategy and waiting for results.

While every individual is different, two rules generally apply to millennials: first, they want to feel your brand has a vested interest in them before they commit to any services that you might provide. Second, they differentiate themselves from other consumer generations with high interactivity and an open nature towards new technology and customer engagement.

From these two facts, it's obvious that catering to the needs of a millennial target audience through social media is important. And while this can sometimes be a difficult task, it's not impossible, and not nearly as hard as some commentators pretend. In this article, we'll look at some important aspects of consumer psychology with millennials in mind, and how they can be applied to your social media marketing strategy. Let's get started -

Digital shopping

Millennials are known for shopping online instead of using retail stores for their needs. They would prefer to order a product with a few easy clicks than wait for it to arrive in the mail. This means that an e-commerce website for your company is a must if you hope to target millennials as your primary customer base.

The generation in question values interactivity and versatility, and pushing that message on social media is a great way to attract them. For example, consider including direct links to your online store in any published content on your blog (you do have one, don’t you?). Similarly, including content that promotes digital shopping and featuring a blog on your website which showcases the possibilities of digital shopping will make your brand stand out in the eyes of your customer base.

New feature adoption

The millennial generation is defined by the adoption of new technologies. They were born at the dawn of a technological revolution, and this is a motif to reference in your social marketing outreach. 

The truth is that most of us carry smartphones wherever we go. Use that to your advantage and focus on new, unexplored marketing strategies that will attract a new generation of consumers to your brand. While you might have detractors in the form of an older demographic and people who are accustomed to more traditional means of marketing, the millennial generation will embrace it wholeheartedly.

Platform doesn’t dictate information

Information should be the same no matter what platform you publish it on. This is a stance that millennials have largely taken when it comes to receiving marketing messages and consuming content online in general.

This means that the information in your Facebook ads shouldn't be different from that in your Instagram posts, and video commercials shouldn’t have fundamentally different content than email marketing messages. Any form of marketing that you employ should focus around the same key message that you have developed before your campaign started. If you aren't sure how to develop an effective message, hiring a writer can be helpful.

A unified message - whether it is published to LinkedIn or Tumblr - should sound and feel genuinely the same. This is one way to attract the millennial generation with your social media marketing and ensure that your credibility stays high and safe from any doubts.

Social media engagement

Posting content on social media and hoping for the best won’t be enough if you want millennials to buy and use your products. Customer engagement is still a fairly new subject on the digital marketing playground, but it certainly makes a difference.

For example, responding to customers via private messages, live Q&A, and comments on posts will publicly will raise the awareness of your brand by allowing you to discuss products and questions that your audience might have. Best of all, millennials around the world will be more willing to accept your product as adequate for their needs and ways of thinking.

Even something as simple as using emoticons on social media to answer a customer query can help you to establish a friendly tone with your audience and ensure that you are seen as positive and communicative. Showing a level of interactivity and willingness to treat people like equals is crucial to the millennial generation, and something that shouldn’t be overlooked in your social media marketing.

Simpler is usually better

You might think that detailed and complex marketing content with huge amounts of data can help you win over new customers. But as a matter of fact, the more irrelevant content you include in your content, the more likely you are to divert your audience to a different brand. This is because customers - especially millennials - want simplicity and directness without any sales pitches that might sound forced or generalized.

Simplifying your marketing message and including any detailed content behind a click barrier is always a smarter way to promote new content. This will ensure that people who want to know more do so by clicking on a link, leaving others with an overview of the content you are trying to promote, but not forcing anything on them.

Paid marketing content

Contrary to common opinion, millennials are open to both advertisement and paid, promotional content. In fact, relying too much on organically marketed content can backfire if it is not upfront about its intention to bring in business. Paid content ensures a level of curation from your side, and anything they see will look professional and properly targeted.

Hiring a marketing expert and creating original content may not be in your predicted budget, but if you want to attract millennials, this is an aspect of marketing to consider seriously. Facebook and Instagram ads use demographic data to ensure the maximum effectiveness of any content that reaches users, meaning that they can be used to easily target millennials and give them the content they would prefer to see in their feeds.

Conclusion

Best practices for reaching the millennial generation will continue to evolve just like the generation itself. But while newer generations will always have different worldviews than the ones that came before, some basic rules of social media marketing will always stay the same.

Make sure to include test groups in your marketing strategy and try pushing new content to controlled groups of millennials before publishing them to anyone else. By acting on informed strategy rather than assumptions, you will save money in the process and ensure that your brand gets even more recognition from the people you want to reach most.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

How to Market to Millennials, a Practical Guide to Instagram and Snapchat: How Grubhub Rocks the Apps for Millennials

Fundamentals of Business Blogging

Testing, Behavioral Analytics & Metrics Best Practices

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media market

 


Automation vs Personalization in Your Marketing Campaigns

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Editor's Note: Dario Supan is a content marketer and editor at Point Visible. Today he joins us to discuss the twin paradigms of automation and personalization, and how to balance them in your marketing campaigns.

 

With advances in technology and especially in Artificial Intelligence, marketers today are faced with an ever-increasing list of tools and algorithms that exist to speed up daily operations. The goal of this article isn’t to argue whether automation is required; it's usually obvious to anyone that has ever worked on a larger marketing campaign that some level of automation must be employed.

But there is a question worth asking: should marketers automate everything they can, just because they have the ability to do so? This practice tends to come with a compromise - the more automated your campaigns, the less personal they become. As a result, the level of automation you should use depends on how personal you want your campaigns to be.

Automation in Marketing

Automation has made its way into the marketing world because it brings a tremendous number of benefits. Not only is automation a chance to free up internal resources and minimize costs, but it’s also a highly effective method for preventing human error. Furthermore, consumers want automation: a recent report by research company Forrester confirms that many consumers want self-service options available to them, so that they do not need to interact or engage with a brand if they don't have to.

There are also many ways in which automated marketing processes can benefit a business. Perhaps the most obvious advantage comes in the form of big data and predictive analysis, utilizing information captured from consumers and prospective customers to predict spending habits, interests, and future needs. With automation, this sort of analysis is without question quicker and more accurate than depending on human guesses.

Similarly, lead nurturing can also benefit from automation. A prime example includes email marketing campaigns where information and offers are sent automatically to a predefined list. Automation in marketing is so advantageous that email marketing firm Emailmonday reports half of all companies now make use of automated marketing in one form or another.

Automation Limitations

While there are many areas of marketing in which automation can be beneficial, there are issues surrounding the notion of fully automated processes. It is important to consider the idea of marketing evolution, and how processes that are effective in one context may fail to work well in another.

By default, automation results in a loss of personalization. Automation means you're working with scripted responses to resonate with individuals on a deeper level, using technology that is unable to deviate from linear, programmed processes. This doesn't always work out.

Interestingly, although many consumers are seeking self-service options in some areas, they are also looking for personalization in others. Adweek reports that more than half of all consumers want a customized experience.

The reason?

Customized experiences make customers feel valued, and may result in improved brand loyalty.

Personalization in Marketing

There are specific areas of marketing where fully automated processes are limited in their overall impact, including social media management and outreach campaigns.

Social Media Management

Let’s dive a little deeper into social media, because it's a large part of marketing nowadays. There are many tools that can be used to automate everything that happens on your social media pages from tracking, scheduling, and publishing your content, to automated message responses. 

One real-world example to look at is Oreo, who sent an automated Twitter reply to a user with an offensive username; a username which was then quickly plastered across Oreo’s feed. This was a silly and probably costly mistake which could have easily been avoided through human action.

Getting it right, on the other hand, is Smart Car USA, who made headlines for correcting a Twitter user who claimed that a single bird poop would total a Smart Car. Smart provided a detailed mathematical response showing the actual number of birds required to wreck a car, and the original poster confirmed that Smart did a great job.

Human Limits

As we can see, “human touch” can never be replaced. However, as your business grows, you obviously can’t reply to everyone. Sooner or later, you will have to use some sort of automation. 

As using tools to automate parts of your processes is unavoidable, the real dilemma is what level of automation you should use.

Take scheduling and promoting posts on social media for example: do you want to use the same featured image across all social channels? Are you reaching out to everyone with the same message? Are you sharing posts at the same time of day?

You can automate the whole process and not make a single change, but this may have a negative impact on your engagement levels and CTR as your target audience often consists of different groups of people that have different interests and needs.

How far should you take personalization then? Answering this question really depends on the niche you are in, your brand authority, quality of content and so on.

Luckily, this is where A/B testing can help tremendouslyTake some time to test how personalization affects the metrics you are focused on, and adjust your workflow to meet the preferences of your audience.

Outreach Campaigns

Moving onto outreach campaigns, it is essential to remember that this form of marketing relies almost entirely upon human interaction, rather than automation.

Smart Insights highlights this fact with their published outreach email open rate statistics. As anticipated, outreach emails addressed to both a first and last name are statistically more likely to be opened than those addressed to the first name only or last name only, showing the power of personalization within this specific area of marketing.

Chances are, you're using some of the available outreach tools already; finding opportunities and managing a high volume of email traffic is close to impossible without one.

The fastest (and laziest) approach is just to make a list of blogs/people you want to contact, and reach out to everyone with the same message.

Or you can put some effort in, and personalize your outreach template with things like:

  • Name of the person you are reaching out too
  • Name of the blog you want to be featured on
  • Adjusting the topics/areas you can cover depending on the content they usually cover
  • Adjusting the pitch if you know for sure they are accepting guest contributions
  • Adjusting the tone depending on the level of the authority the site you are reaching out to has
  • Referring to some of their previous work you liked
  • Scheduling the time of day when the pitch is going to be sent

What it comes down to is this: do you want to send 100 generic pitches in 20 minutes or 20 personalized ones in an hour?

You are still using a tool to automate your outreach efforts, but you are also in control of the level of personalization that will be included. The second approach can often end up being more time-efficient, especially when you want to connect with high-authority sites.

Remember not to take this too far. Researching every site to find a post you can refer to often isn’t worth your time but many other things on the list are.

Again, test and update your workflow according to the results you are getting. There is no perfect recipe that works for across every niche.

Finding the Right Balance

There are arguably some areas of marketing where personalization isn’t required, and by steering clear of available automated processes, businesses could be preventing themselves from further growth and development opportunities.

In terms of prediction and data analysis, technology is often the preferred choice. However, in terms of B2C interactions, some degree of personalization is essential. It’s all about finding the right balance and learning how automated processes and personalization can both be used together to create the most effective and efficient marketing strategy.

Businesses may want to think of automation and personalization as two parts of the same unit, rather than as separate and distinct aspects. Automation can be very beneficial in learning what a customer wants; it’s a support system that enables us to offer the best personalized marketing through all stages of the sales funnel.

At the end of the day, to find the best solution, testing is key. All the research and statistics provided by companies and firms won't help you to meet the unique needs of your own audience - but understanding the general rule will help to find the specific one.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

Marketing Automation Strategy for Full Lifecycle Management

Social Media Strategy for Business

Testing, Behavioral Analytics & Metrics Best Practices

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 

 


A Simple Guide to SEO Keyword Research

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Editor's Note: Chris Raulf is an educator and founder of Boulder SEO Marketing. He joins us today to share a simple guide for SEO keyword research that can skyrocket your website's position on search pages.

 

It goes without saying that people make billions of Internet searches everyday, from movie showings to nearby pizza places to oil changing services. Data consistently shows that Internet users typically select one of the first few search results, and if they find what they’re looking for, they stop searching. 

In fact, according to the statistics, more than 70% of all clicks go to the top five organic search results. So if your website shows up below #5, you’re missing out on a great boost for traffic to your website, and ultimately on sales.

If you want your business to grow and capture more organic search opportunities, climbing to the highest search positions is a good priority. And a great way to climb higher in rankings is to apply SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices.

Keywords - the word or words that people use to search for something in a search engine - are the foundation of SEO. In order to understand how people use search engines, you need to do keyword research in a scientific way. This is the first of many activities you can do to improve your website’s ranking in organic search results.

And it really does work! For example: my practice helped one client by applying a comprehensive digital marketing and SEO strategy to their business, and as a result, we doubled their Google traffic in less than 8 months:

In this article, I will explain the basic principles we used to do this so you can apply them too.

Let's dive right in!

What Are Keywords?

It may seem simple, but it's always best to start with basics. As mentioned in passing: a keyword is a word or string of words that people use to find something with a search engine. A keyword can be short tail, which is one word or two words strung together, such as “SEO,” “running shoes”, or “seo company”.

Keywords can also be long tail, which is three or more words strung together such as “SEO keyword research,” “running shoes for men” or “what are seo marketing packages.” Google continues to perfect its search algorithm and nowadays, long tail keywords seem to be the top choice for searching online. After all, users now expect Google to display a good answer to complex questions right at the top of the page:

Why Do Keyword Research?

You should do keyword research because it eliminates the guesswork behind choosing good keywords, and gives you confidence when executing an SEO strategy. During my SEO training classes and webinars, 80-90% of my attendees tend to admit that they haven't done keyword research.

And if they do keyword research, they are often surprised by what they find when I show them how to do it scientifically.

One of the most common and easily fixed mistakes made by SEO novices is trying to optimize for short tail keywords only, which are overly general and extremely competitive to rank for. People who use long tail keywords know what they want, and are more likely to convert interested buyers. 

Another mistake I frequently see is that people simply aren’t selecting the right keywords. This is not as mysterious as it may sound; they may optimize their site for internal terminology, product names, or branded terms, without realizing that this is completely ineffective on non-customers who have never countered those words before. 

By researching your keywords ahead of time, you can bypass many common mistakes, and forego trial and error by jumping straight to the most promising terms for your website.

A Brief Primer on Researching Keywords

Here are the key steps to doing keyword research for SEO at a very high level.

  1. The first thing to do is pick a research tool. There are many good choices, both free and paid. I usually recommend starting with Google Keyword Planner since it’s free, and made by Google. One of my favorite paid tools is SEMRush, because it provides many extra features that will help you to analyze the best keywords as carefully as possible. It should be noted that to take full advantage of Google’s Keyword Planner tool, you will need to set up and run an active Google AdWords campaign, so it isn't completely free in the end.
  2. Assuming you go with Google's Keyword Planner, you first need to set up an account. After doing so, you can start with keyword research and I recommend you do the following: If your website could rank number one on Google for only one search term, what would it be? Enter that term into Google Keyword Planner and you’ll see all kinds of data about it. The average number of searches per month is always interesting - it might surprise you in a good or bad way. You’ll also see that Google provides keyword ideas based on your keyword. These ideas are really useful to create a set of complementary keywords to use along with the primary keyword.
  3. Next, you’re going to download data about the source keyword and the keywords recommended by the tools so that you can analyze these three data points: Avg. Monthly Searches, Competition and Suggested bid data. Download the data to an Excel CVS file or to Google Drive as a Google spreadsheet.
  4. Now you should prioritize the keywords based on which ones you want to dominate, so add a column for priority (you may use a rating of 1-3, for instance). You should also categorize the keywords based on the products and services you offer. Essentially, the spreadsheet should look similar to the one below:

Next Steps

Once you know what keywords you want to focus on, you’ll need to assign 2-4 keywords to each webpage of your website. This process is called keyword mapping. Once you have properly assigned the right keywords, you’ll want to start optimizing the meta tags for each page. But don’t stop there! The more high quality content you develop with your target SEO keywords (i.e. blog posts, articles, white papers, case studies, etc.), the higher you’ll eventually rank in search engines.

Conclusion

There is a lot to keyword research and it’s impossible to capture everything in one article. However, I hope this short guide has given you a useful starting point. The Online Marketing Institute offers a ton of educational resources by some of today’s top digital marketing experts - take advantage of these resources so that you can achieve the results you’re looking for. I also invite you to read a guide that I recently published called SEO Keywords: The Step-by-Step Guide to Keyword Research.  

About the Author

Chris Raulf is the founder of Boulder SEO Marketing, a boutique digital marketing training and consulting agency located in beautiful Denver and Boulder, Colorado. Chris is an SEO training expert and teaches students around the globe to improve their website’s rankings in Google search results. His international background makes him one of few professionals in the industry who truly live and breath multilingual search engine optimization on a daily basis.

Learn more about Chris and Boulder SEO Marketing by connecting with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Keyword Research

Optimizing Your Website in a Post-Penguin World

Keyword Mapping

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 


5 Tools to Use Google Analytics Like a Data Scientist

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To complement the brand new Google Analytics' classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to discuss five ways to approach the ubiquitous platform like a data scientist.

 

Google Analytics is simultaneously the most widely used and under-used analytics platform on the Internet.

How can it be both at the same time?

There's a simple reason: the freemium web service boasts more subscribers than any analytics platform in the world - but few users ever harness the sprawling interface to its full potential.

If you think of site development as building an office from the ground up, Google Analytics is a toolbox full of everything you need to build that office, complete with floors, desks and even a breakroom. But if you only know how to use a hammer and nails, that office will not just take a long time to build; it will be missing key components you can’t assemble without using the rest of the tools in the box.

Google Analytics has the potential to flip a website from a rundown office into a booming business that will attract the attention of thousands (if not millions) of people, especially if you know how to use its features like a data scientist.

With that being said, here are 5 ways you can start to use Google Analytics like a data scientist.

1. Use Funnel Analysis

Funnel analysis allows GA users to chart the path their customers will take through various pages of a website. This tool is particularly useful at pinning down exactly where (and maybe why) a customer abandons their journey through a site, whether it be a blog post that has no internal link structure, or a shopping cart that has a confusing layout.

As the go-to tool for tracking progress on a set list of conversions, funnel analysis is ideal for visualizing exactly how customers engage with calls to action across their entire online presence, especially because it can process data spanning multiple platforms.

2. Use Segmentation

Segmentation is perfect for marketers who want to know more about their audience. The tool allows Google Analytics users to organize and isolate various audiences according to the geographic, demographic, and conversion rate data of individual site visitors.

Segmentation also provides its users with the ability to import behavior information, e-commerce data, marketing data and other external data to complement what it collects on your audience. This way, segmentation users can plug in data collected by multiple tools - including AdWords - to generate marketing and advertising campaigns designed specifically for certain segments of their audience.

3. Use Real-Time Reporting

Real-Time Reporting is a fast way to peek beneath the hood of your website and get an idea of how recent changes may be affecting site traffic.

Real-Time Reporting is ideal for monitoring new content and small promotions that are designed to boost the number of your visitors and conversions. Real-Time Reporting is an excellent tool for monitoring the response an audience has to new information that is deemed particularly relevant or important to your audience prior to publishing.

4. Use Diagnostics Tools

One of the most important tasks of any data scientist is separating anomalies from important trends. Google Analytics’ Diagnostics Tool automatically does this by notifying users when a variety of events or metrics are outside an expected range of values for your site. In other words, it tells you when something extraordinary is occurring.

Google Analytics also provides users with Analytics Assistant, which uses machine learning to learn your preferences and work as an automated data scientist, helping you uncover trends and insights according to the metrics that interest you and your business most.

5. Use Predictive Analytics

Like its name suggests, Predictive Analytics helps users predict things like user behavior. That includes which users are most likely to convert.

Because it isolates audiences that are most likely to convert, Predictive Analytics is especially useful for devising remarketing campaigns in AdWords. If you’re just starting a site and aren’t yet able to measure conversions, then try harvesting data by using Predictive Analytics features like Smart Lists or Smart Goals.

Are you using Google Analytics like a data scientist? Take our newest classes on Google Analytics to start scraping and processing data that will help your website reach its maximum potential.

 


8 Tips to Write Highly Effective Product Descriptions

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Editor's Note: Mary Walton works as a professional editor for College Assignment Help Australia and writes for Academized. Today, she joins us to discuss tips for optimizing product descriptions so they sell more products.

 

Writing good product descriptions isn't as hard as many believe it is. But while you don't have to be an expert, you should think about your audience and what they need. For instance, what are they looking for in a product, and what can you offer them that no one else can?

Remember, your product description is only part of the puzzle. There are photos, headlines, and other aspects that will also work to sell the product. However, that doesn't mean you can skimp on the description. Here are 8 tips that will help you write the perfect description, every time.

1. Understand your customers and develop buyer personas

You aren't selling to 'everyone'. Not everyone in the world is interested in your product. This means that you'll have to do some research into who your average customer is. Look at the people who have already bought from you. What do they like? What are their needs? What are their goals? If you look into what they're researching and buying online, you can get a lot of insight.

Next, you should create 'buyer personas'. It's likely that you have more than one demographic that shops with you. Create these personas in order to help you write descriptions that are laser targeted to the right people. For example, you can write a persona for a stay-at-home mom that's interested in houseware products that make life easier, or a camper who wants products that make life easier in the outdoors.

2. Talk to the buyer directly

Now isn't the time to be coy about what you're doing. Talk to the buyer directly, and tell them all about your product. This is why you need your buyer personas. With the right customer in mind, you can create a connection with them and become more than just another dry description.

Think about where you'd talk to this customer as well. Would you meet them in a soft play area with their kids? On a construction site? In the mall? Use this to determine the tone you'll take with them, and how you'll talk to them. Will you take a casual tone, or a more formal one? Picking the right one is important.

3. Turn features into benefits

You can simply list the features that your product has, but let's be honest, it's not all that interesting to your customers. They won't need every feature that your product has, and it's boring to read about them. If you just list the features, your visitors are likely to click away before they find what speaks to them.

Instead, turn those features into customer benefits. What is it about your product that helps your customer, or fulfills a want or need? For example, imagine you're selling a portable USB phone charger. It has 2 USB leads and a 2 hour charge time.

That's great, but rather than just report those features, turn them into benefits. You can say, "2 leads will let you charge two phones at once with this device, and quick charge will let you get back to using your phone right away."

4. Hire in the experts

If you're finding it difficult to write your own descriptions, you can hire in experts to create them for you. This offers you a lot of advantages as a business. You can free up time to work on other aspects of your business, and get descriptions that will convince customers to buy once everything is done.

The best way to get an expert to write for you is to look on custom writing services, such as Elite Assignment Help and Australian Help. You give them the job, and they'll give you a description quicker than you'd think. You can hire them as a one off project or on a long term basis, depending on your needs too.

5. Don't forget the SEO benefits

As with anything you write on your website, you should be thinking about how to optimize it for SEO. You want your products to rank highly on Google, especially withing the 'shopping' section. You should think about what will bring readers to your site, and what will convince them to stay and buy from you.

That means you'll need to pick your keywords carefully, and ensure you don't over stuff them into the text. Remember, the writing needs to still feel natural when you're using them. Additionally , ensure that your description accurately describes your product so customers know you're on the level.

6. Get to the point

Remember, you don't have long to get a reader's attention online. If they don't see what they want right away, they're going to move on. The best way to keep their attention is to put the most important point in the first sentence. For example, if you're selling sports clothing, your first sentence could be 'Stay comfortable and move freely with this specially designed sportswear line.'

7. Look at what your customers are saying

If you're using customer reviews on your site, look at what they're saying about your products. You can use what they're saying to inform and shape the way you write your own descriptions. For example, if you're selling a fitness app, customers may be saying things like 'I hate the music on other apps, but this one let me use my own playlists which I liked'. You can then list that benefit for customers in your description.

8. Format your descriptions well

Finally, you need to pay attention to how you format your descriptions. The way they're laid out will help keep the reader's attention, and convince them to buy from you. Use white space, bullet points, and good headlines to lay out your descriptions well.

These 8 points will help you create descriptions that will convince the reader that they should buy from you. Keep them in mind as you create your descriptions, and you'll find that your conversion rates shoot up. Make sure that your descriptions are doing your products justice!

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

Building a Digital Persona to Drive Strategy

Fundamentals of Digital Copywriting

Integrated Search: PR & SEO to Drive Results

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 


 


The 5 Biggest Trends Redefining Digital Marketing

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Editor's Note: Josh R Jackson is a contributing editor at BestMarketingDegrees.org. To complement the brand new content marketing classes in our updated catalog, he joins us to discuss 5 trends that are changing the Digital Marketing industry, and how you can make the most of them.

 

Perhaps the best definition of digital marketing is that it’s always changing.

The industry’s constant and rapid state of flux is why so many field guides on SEO and content marketing have emerged over the last decade, only to be rendered obsolete by changing practices the very next year.

This is what makes digital marketing difficult to define at any one point in time: it behaves more like a moving target than an established industry.

As a result, to fully comprehend what defines digital marketing (and therefore, what’s redefining it) we must look at the rise and fall of some of the biggest trends that have defined online marketing since 2004.

We say 2004 because that was the year Google started keeping track of interest in the search terms that define our current moment in digital marketing history—a moment dominated by 5 big trends that have emerged over the past fourteen years

The Big Trends

Using what we know about topics in digital marketing that capture marketers’ imaginations, our current moment in digital marketing history is being redefined by conversations about topics that fall within the following 5 trends:

  1. Digital advertising
  2. Content marketing
  3. AdTech & MarTech
  4. Mobile SEO
  5. Blockchain

Thanks in large part to Google Trends, we know that some very specific changes have occurred to these 5 big trends over the past fourteen years: changes that have already redefined digital marketing as we know it and will continue to do so.

Digital Advertising Is Outstripping TV Advertising

According to one source, digital ad spending surpassed TV ad spending around March of 2017. Although some of us are still waiting for confirmation from other sources on this tectonic shift in spending practices, the trajectory of the market appears clear.

The waning of TV ad spend ultimately signals a changing of the guard, a marked shift from one marketing industry dominated by television, to another marketing industry which is increasingly dominated by digital.

We can see this shift reflected in the slow and steady rise of Google search interest in "digital advertising," and the more precipitous fall of Google search interest in "TV advertising" between 2004 and the present.

That rise and fall suggests that both interest and investment in digital advertising are redefining digital marketing, as digital advertising emerges not merely as one small part of the future of modern marketing, but as one of its most valued players.

Content Marketing is Reaching Untold Heights of Popularity and Making Waves

It’s no secret that content is the most valued player of the digital marketing industry. One study even projects that if investment continues at current global levels, content marketing will be a $300 billion industry by 2019.

But the fact that content marketing continues to rise in practice and popularity despite having been around since before 2004 may surprise some of its practitioners.

Over the last six years, content marketing has undoubtedly shattered expectations with its ability to touch almost every industry in the world and reach record heights of cultural interest and financial investment. This trend is mirrored in Google Trends’ tracking of interest over time for the search term "content marketing," which reflects a steady, sometimes explosive intensification of search interest in content marketing, especially as its influence has expanded over the past 3 years in particular.

What appears to be creating this change may occur on a slightly smaller scale. Social messaging has become more ambitious, clickbait has become more aggressive, and content marketing has almost become something more like "contentious marketing," or messaging that is designed to generate controversy rather than make a point.

Whether or not this newfound propensity for wave-making explains the intensification of interest in content marketing since 2011 remains to be seen.

But one thing is certain: content marketing has redefined and continues to redefine digital marketing on a yearly if not daily basis.

AdTech & MarTech are Converging

Advertising technology has seen a lot of hype over the years.

But ad blockers and the growing popularity of AdTech’s cousin marketing technology have taken a toll, while interest in advertising technology has waxed and waned considerably over the years.

Looking at Google Trends' search interest index, marketing technology also appears to have followed this downward trajectory on a somewhat smaller scale. On the other hand, MarTech  recently experienced an uptick in search interest, which for the first time in digital marketing history, placed ahead of AdTech on Google Trends’ search interest scale this year.

The optics of this suggest that, perhaps like digital advertising is overtaking TV advertising, MarTech is overtaking AdTech with respect to cultural capital and financial relevance—in other words, the age of MarTech has arrived.

It's likely that the two practices are reaching a natural state of equilibrium, as they converge, and both advertising and marketing become even more technologically intwined.

Mobile SEO is Exploding on the Scene After a Steady Hike in Interest

With more mobile connections on the planet than people, mobile marketing is the fastest growing media channel by digital consumption.

Following that trend, mobile content is fast becoming more popular among users and content creators than desktop content.

Much of mobile content’s popularity can be traced to the mobile optimization boom that occurred in 2015, the moment when Google informed the Internet that any websites which weren’t mobile-friendly would be see their content drop in the rankings.

We can see the results of Google’s heads up in the exponential uptick in search interest for the term “mobile SEO” in April of 2015, the same month Google released its mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. After the initial hype, interest mobile search engine optimization died down for a while, only to explode back on the scene in early 2016, since which time it has sustained peak interest.

What this means is that mobile content for the mobile web is here to stay and should not be ignored. It also means that mobile SEO should be at the top of content developers’ lists for trends not only to follow, but to participate in through 2017 and beyond.

Blockchain is Entering Conversations about Marketing Automation

Since it entered the popular consciousness in 2013, blockchain has captured the imagination of workers in every industry, from government agents to marketers and salespeople.

Aside from blockchain’s long-term potential to revamp how global markets operate and interact with each other, one of the main reasons blockchain has become important to marketers and salespeople is that it has the potential to safely and securely automate digital transactions in marketing and sales, as well as authenticate the origins of products for sale.

This automation potential has vast implications that could affect all of the trends discussed above, especially AdTech and MarTech. However, that potential may not come into play until 5 years from now. In the meantime, the fact of whether or not blockchain will affect all these trends is anyone’s guess.

Despite that, there is no doubt that every trend discussed above is working, in big and small ways, to redefine how we think about digital marketing, both today and tomorrow.

Wondering where you fit in with these trends? Take a class in digital advertising, content marketing, AdTech & MarTech, mobile marketing, and digital marketing automation today to find out what you can do to redefine digital marketing.

 

 


5 App Store SEO Tips to Increase App Downloads

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Editor's Note: Nick Rojas is a freelance journalist who has written for Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and Yahoo. Today he joins us to discuss App Store SEO techniques that can increase your downloads and app revenue.

 

App Store Optimization (ASO) is an essential element for growing the success of your mobile apps. If you're bringing a new app to market, or need an ASO update, you can certainly increase your downloads with a little App Store SEO.

Publishers and developers often believe that their latest app is the perfect new utility, game, or source of information for the public. But in truth, there's probably already an app like yours in Google Play or the Apple Store. It may not be half as good as the product you've developed, but with an extended history and presence, it will be more easily discovered by users.

In fact, there are more than 6.5 million apps ready to be installed across the major app stores. According to Think with Google, the average number of apps a mobile user has in his or her smartphone is 36, and only 26% of them are used on a daily basis.

How do you get your app to stand out among millions, and achieve daily use with your audience? Apply these app store SEO tips, and you'll be well on your way -

1. Have an Eye-Catching App Icon

Icons are often a second thought when it comes to marketing an app, but this is a tremendous mistake. People are motivated by images, and your icon is often the first exposure they will have to your product. So what better way to entice mobile users than putting in the effort to design a catchy icon?

Tayasui Sketches Pro is a great example of an app with an eye-catching icon. Not only is it powerful and interesting, but it's relevant to the app's function. Users browsing an app store will quickly recognize what the app does, and why it might suit their needs.

2. Make the Most of Your Title Tag

The second most valuable app store SEO tactic is a title tag that sells. To maximize rankings with ASO, you want to ensure your app title is as enticing as your website’s <title> tag.

First, make sure your branding is front and center. This includes your app name, followed by a short description with your top keywords. For the Apple App Store you will have 30 characters to work with by fall of 2017. Google Play allots 50 characters.

Photo Editor Movavi makes good use of their app title. They ensure their branding is first with primary and secondary keywords, “Remove Objects & Enhance” following it up. Those keywords should link up with photos for user search queries.

3. Develop a Robust App Description

The biggest mistake many app publishers make when bringing a new app to market is not having a robust description that tells potential users exactly what they need to know. Like website SEO, you should make your above the fold content descriptive, following it with an information-packed, authoritative description below.

Terpy is a good example of how to offer a service, fulfill a need, and build trust. You want your title to lead app store browsers to your app, an icon that makes them click, and a description that makes them install.

4. Use Actionable Graphics

If you browse an app store, you may notice a number of apps with simple screenshots showcasing their features. This is great, but you should take your images one step further by creating actionable graphics.

To improve your install chances and increase your user base, take screenshots of your app in action, then add arrows, text, and other exciting, actionable images to highlight certain features.

SimCity™ 4 Deluxe Edition combines compelling text with eye-catching images. This gives potential users a better idea of how they can navigate and use the app, essential for increased installs.

5. Take Keyword Optimization to the Next Level

Like SEO, keyword optimization for your app is a very important element of ASO. In fact, keyword optimization is slightly harder for apps since you have limited space to place them.

For instance, a user may only see the first 600 or so characters of your description on their mobile devices. Another key factor in ranking when optimizing app keywords is that the first 167 characters are the most important, according to Mobile Action.

World of Tanks Blitz shows 220 characters above the fold and uses some very good keywords. In fact, the keyword “award-winning” nets in upwards of 1.7 thousand searches per month in the U.S. alone.

App Store SEO Keyword tips include . . .

  • Find keywords with a large monthly search volume
  • Ensure you are not trying to rank with keywords big companies are already ranking for
  • Make your top keywords a priority
  • Don’t use spaces between keywords; instead commas instead

Bonus Tip: Always Track Your Analytics

It's vitally important to track your app analytics, just like you would for your website. With the use of mobile SDKs you can implement services like Google Analytics for your app to keep track of important KPIs. You can also maximize your ASO efforts with SDK services for analytics, marketing, and more.

It does well to remember that ASO also serves profit benefits - the more users you have, the more in-app ads and purchases you can use and make. Employing the above app store SEO tips and tracking them via analytics will ensure you get the installs, user base and funds that your app deserves.

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

Mobile Consumer Insights: How People Spend Their Time on Mobile

SEO For Business Owners

Data and Analytics: Web Analytics

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media marketing space.

 

 


Infographic: Choosing The Best KPIs to Boost Your Growth

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Editor's Note: Colin Cieloha works for Skilled, where a version of this article first appeared. Today he joins us to share a comprehensive strategy for choosing the best KPIs to grow your business, all in a simple infographic.

 

KPIs or Key Performance Indicators are an essential part of modern business planning and goal setting. These carefully chosen and specific metrics can be tracked to indicate the performance of a department, employee, marketing strategy, or any other object oriented venture.

This diverse utility makes KPIs a unique tool for achieving your business's vision and objectives. However, when it comes to implementing KPIs, managers often find it hard to isolate the most useful ones to track. That's no wonder: the average Internet Marketer has over 20,645 potential options.

In this infographic, we outline a comprehensive strategy for choosing KPIs that will optimize the success of your business. We cover common mistakes that lead to the adoption of poor KPIs, and aim to give you a feel for the metrics that are relevant to your goals. Before diving in, here's a summary -

Using KPIs

Good Practices

Before choosing KPIs, you should have clearly defined goals that follow the rules of SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-limited. Here's a cheat sheet for factors that correspond to common desired outcomes:

  • A website visitor count can help to predict and understand customer needs.
  • Income from leads helps to predict future sales based on projected traffic and conversion rates.
  • A visitors to leads ratio helps you to gauge the value of your current traffic.
  • Optimizing response time leads to faster engagement between your sales department and prospects
  • A leads to clients ratio helps to diagnose areas of your sales funnel that need improvement.
  • Customer lifetime value indicates the revenue that a customer is likely to generate during the span of their relationship with your company

Marketers should understand that the best factors for gauging success change depending on business type. For instance, a content website should focus on click through rates and time spent on page are important; these factors are less important for e-commerce sites, which should focus on cart abandonment and products per order.

After selecting the KPIs for your business, its important to monitor them on a regular basis. Analysis will help to determine

  • What changes your company should make to attain desired outcomes.
  • Which KPIs are more useful than others: the poorest should be weeded out.
  • How often your KPIs should be tracked (weekly, monthly, quarterly?)

Worst Practices

Common mistakes when choosing KPIs include:

  • Measuring factors that are irrelevant to your success
  • Tracking too many KPIs at one time
  • Choosing factors that are difficult or even impossible to measure

E-commerce stores frequently overrate certain KPIs, and overlook better ones. Examples of overrated KPIs include,

  • Number of visits
  • Pageviews
  • Emails sent
  • Twitter followers
  • Bounce rate

Underrated KPIs include:

  • Revenue conversion rate
  • Average order value
  • Cart abandonment rate
  • Task completion rate

Continue your crash course in choosing KPIs with the infographic below. Feel free to save for future reference, or pass it along to your colleagues!

Learn more with these related OMI classes:

 

Web Analytics Fundamentals for a Data-Driven World

Planning SEM Campaigns: Establish Goals & KPIs

 

Visit the Online Marketing Institute to browse over 400 classes in the digital and social media market