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Monthly Archives: April 2020

Instagram Expands Desktop and Mobile Features

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Social Media Marketing Talk Show, a news show for marketers who want to stay on the leading edge of social media. On this week’s Social Media Marketing Talk Show, we explore Instagram rolling out the ability to view live video and direct messages on desktop, and other business […]

The post Instagram Expands Desktop and Mobile Features appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Digital Marketing News: Shifting B2B Buyer Behaviors, Brands Evolve Crisis Response, Bad Data’s Effect on B2B Firms, & Twitter Shares New Data With Advertisers

2020 April 17 MarketingCharts Chart

2020 April 17 MarketingCharts Chart

How B2B Buyer Behavior Has Changed in Light of COVID-19, and What Marketers and Sellers Can Do Now
82 percent of B2B buyers said they were concerned or strongly concerned about the possibility of a pandemic-sparked recession, while 30 percent have reported spending more on videoconferencing software — two of several findings of interest to digital marketers in a recently-released survey examining B2B buyer shifts. eMarketer

How Bad Data Hurts B2B Companies [Infographic]
Just 33 percent of marketers say they can rely on their customer relationship management (CRM) software, and 88 percent said that bad data has a direct impact on their company's bottom line — two of the findings in a new infographic look at the effect of poor data on B2B firms. MarketingProfs

The Evolving Discussion Around COVID-19 and How Brands Have Responded [Infographic]
Brands have used Twitter the most often to mention the global health crisis, according to recently-released survey data examining how brands are using social media in crisis management planning. Social Media Today

Social Media Users Value Brands Responsive To COVID-19 Crisis
83% of social media users expect brands to address the health crisis in their ads, with 31 percent saying they appreciate brands offering products suited for remote work, 28 percent promoting social distancing, and 24 percent mentioning brand philanthropic efforts, according to newly-released survey data of interest to marketers. MediaPost

Why It Takes So Long to Apply Data-Driven Insights to Campaigns
Just 5 percent of marketers say they can immediately go from data gathering to actionable intelligence, while 31 do so later than they would like, and some 3 percent take so long that the output is irrelevant, according to new survey data. MarketingProfs

Instagram Live Streams Can Now Be Viewed on the Web
Facebook-owned Instagram has made it possible for its users to view its previously app-only Instagram Live video streams from its website, bringing marketers a new cross-promotion opportunity with the feature, the firm recently announed. Social Media Today

2020 April 17 Statistics Image

Twitter notifies users that it’s now sharing more data with advertisers
Twitter has notified its users that a previously available user privacy ad interaction sharing option has been shuttered for all, in a move that will bring more audience data to advertisers, the firm recently announced. The Verge

What Customers Need to Hear from You During the COVID Crisis
The types of brand stories companies should be telling their customers include those that put solutions before sales, according to a new examination by Harvard Business School of interest to B2B marketers. Harvard Business School

Facebook Has Launched a New Tournaments Option for People to Create Their Own Gaming Events
With online gaming forecast to produce $196 billion by 2022, a recent move by social giant Facebook allowing its users to create their own private or public gaming events could bring brands new opportunities for reaching its sizable gaming audience. Social Media Today

Content Plays Various Roles in Brands’ Customer Engagement Strategies
61 percent of marketing leaders said that interactive branded content communicates brand promise and value, according to recently-released survey data from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, with 51 percent saying that it delivers thought-leadership, and 45 percent saying that interactive content helps communicate with customers, partners and prospects. MarketingCharts


2020 April 17 Marketoonist Comic

A lighthearted look at digital transformation and organizational change by Marketoonist Tom Fishburne — Marketoonist

Grinning Tim Cook Announces New iPhone Will No Longer Be Compatible With AirPods — The Onion


  • Lee Odden — Leadership and Engagement In a Time of Crisis [Podcast] — Traject
  • Amie Krone — Navigating the new world of working at home — Chaska Herald
  • Dell, SAP — Building A Perfect B2B Influencer Program During Imperfect Times — Forbes
  • Lee Odden — Marketing During a Pandemic – Resources for Small Businesses in the Coronavirus Crisis [Roundup] — Simple Machines

Do you have your own top B2B content marketing or digital advertising stories from the past week? Please let us know in the comments below.

Thanks for taking the time to join us, and we hope that you'll return again next Friday for more of the most relevant B2B and digital marketing industry news. In the meantime, you can follow us at @toprank on Twitter for even more timely daily news. Also, don't miss the full video summary on our TopRank Marketing TV YouTube Channel.

The post Digital Marketing News: Shifting B2B Buyer Behaviors, Brands Evolve Crisis Response, Bad Data’s Effect on B2B Firms, & Twitter Shares New Data With Advertisers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Becoming Well-Known: Your Plan to Becoming a Recognized Expert

What could you achieve for your business and yourself if you were more well-known? Could you reach and help more people with your message? To explore how to become a recognized expert in any industry, I recorded a special episode of the Social Media Marketing Podcast. I share a method that works for becoming well-known—regardless […]

The post Becoming Well-Known: Your Plan to Becoming a Recognized Expert appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Managing your mental health while working in social media

It’s not too much of a stretch to suggest that many of us have an addiction to social media. For a lot of people, Read more...

This post Managing your mental health while working in social media originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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What B2B Marketers Need to Know about Optimizing Content with Video Analytics

Video analytics concept image.

Video analytics concept image.

Between stay-at-home orders and the manic Minnesota weather, I’ve found myself at home for the last four weeks looking for something, really anything, to occupy time. One can only take so many walks in a day. Naturally, I turn to YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney+ and all of the other video streaming sites for entertainment.

As a marketer, this makes me wonder what those streaming sites are seeing in their analytics. Obviously, views must be up by an unbelievable amount. But, what about engagement? How many people are completing the videos they start? Are they watching more? Unless it’s Tiger King, the answer is unknown (it’s impossible to look away from Tiger King). But those streaming sites aren’t the only ones that might have some fascinating new data to look at.

Social sites and YouTube provide a host of different metrics and analytics options. While each data point serves a purpose, there are a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that are more important to track to better understand your audience and improve content performance.

Video Analytics and Content Benchmarks

A recent study from video streaming site Vidyard established some useful benchmarks for video content:

  • 52% of viewers watch a video all the way through
  • 68% will watch the entire video if it’s less than 60 seconds
  • 25% will finish a video if it’s more than 20 minutes

The same study found that the most common business-created videos are webinars, demos and social media videos, and are most likely to be published on websites, social media and YouTube.

Of course, these benchmarks will vary by audience, by industry, by the light of the silvery moon — basically, take them as a starting point and customize from there. Here’s the process we recommend.

Using Video Analytics to Optimize Your Video Content

1 — Use Demographics to Understand Your Audience

The first step to increasing content engagement and effectiveness is to gain a better understanding of your audience. To do that, it’s critical to monitor demographic data in your video analytics platform. Most will give you basic demographic data, like location, age, language and device use. Some will give you user interest data, income estimates and even company data.

Knowing this information helps you create more relevant content. For example, if you find that your audience primarily speaks English, but there is a growing subset of French speakers accessing your videos on mobile devices, you might want to consider adding French caption options for mobile users.

If you see an increase in viewers from a specific geographic area, you will want to look at the analytics for that region to determine what content is attracting the new audience and how they are engaging while they’re watching and immediately afterward.

2 — Use Awareness and Engagement Metrics to Understand Audience Demand

Understanding your audience is important at a strategic level, but understanding audience demand is tactical gold. Of course, this data will drive your go-forward strategy, but it will also help you improve performance right away by adjusting promotion tactics and featured content.

For example, if you see an uptick in video views week over week for a particular video, that indicates that the topic is becoming increasingly popular. To prove that, you will want to look at engagement metrics like watch time, clicks on your call to action (CTA), and subscribers gained or lost. If you see an uptick in views and a corresponding uptick in engagement, you’re going to want to feature that video more prominently. If you see an increase in negative engagement —  a loss of subscribers — or if viewers are dropping off right away, that might indicate your video doesn’t quite match the intent for that topic.

This granular view of data can help you improve and optimize your existing content, create more strategic video content roadmaps, and provide viewers with content they want and need to make critical decisions later in the funnel.

[bctt tweet="“Understanding your audience is important at a strategic level, but understanding audience demand is tactical gold.” @Tiffani_Allen" username="toprank"]

3 — Audit Your Video Library for Optimization Opportunities

Following the best practices for whichever video hosting platform you’re using can result in increased video visibility and better user experience. A great first step is to optimize video titles, descriptions, and tags. Then you can organize  your videos into different sections, playlists, or even channels to help the right audience find your content faster.

To determine your next steps, audit your existing video channels. Do you know at a glance what the video is about? Does the thumbnail image inspire a click? Does your channel, landing page or resource center adequately convey the type, purpose and content of your videos in a way that compels action?

If the answer is yes, go take a break. I recommend a few hours of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. It’s very soothing. But if the answer’s no, you’re not alone. And you do have the tools you need to create better video content. It’s all in your analytics.

As a quick disclaimer, if your videos are hosted on your website and you notice some odd user behavior patterns over the last month or so — increases in direct traffic, crazy long time on page — you might want to look into whether or not IPs are blocked for your team’s home IP addresses. Determine if the patterns are happening on a more global level, or if they’re localized to the geographic area surrounding your physical office.

If you want help with an audit, or just want to bounce some ideas around, we’re here to help. Tweet us @toprank or contact us to get started.

The post What B2B Marketers Need to Know about Optimizing Content with Video Analytics appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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What to do with your 2020 social strategy now

2020 kicked off a new decade with an entirely new way of life and set of rules for everyone. As brands planned their strategies, Read more...

This post What to do with your 2020 social strategy now originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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The essential guide to YouTube ad campaigns

With 78.8% of marketers considering YouTube as the most effective platform for video marketing, there’s no doubt that it should be a part of Read more...

This post The essential guide to YouTube ad campaigns originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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SEO Strategy: 5 Reasons Why It’s More Important Than Ever For B2B Marketers

Businesswoman wearing facemask peering out through window blinds image.

Businesswoman wearing facemask peering out through window blinds image.

Why do B2B marketers need SEO?

For B2B marketers coping with the global health crisis, search engine optimization (SEO) is showing its strength, stability, and resiliency in many forms.

SEO has seen better performance and consistency than other marketing tactics during the pandemic, as we’ll explore with data from recent surveys and reports, and with more consumers than ever conducting business online and searching for best-answer solutions, many B2B marketers may find that the time is right to increase focus on SEO.

Here are five reasons why SEO is more important than ever for B2B marketers.

1 — SEO is Performing Better During the Health Crisis

63 percent of marketers believe SEO is more important during the pandemic, according to newly-released survey data.

Combined with the fact that during 2019 paid and organic search were the top performing online channels, as shown below, the increasing focus on SEO this year during the pandemic is understandable, as marketers turn towards the strongest and most stable tactics.

Conductor SEO Chart

SEO can also represent a lower-cost channel, which has led some 34 percent of marketers to say that they plan to invest more in less costly marketing channels such as SEO, according to the same survey.

Data from another recent survey found that 65 percent of advertisers believe the health crisis will result in more spending on media that is able to show direct sales outcomes, making SEO a natural choice for many marketers in both B2B and B2C industries.

Coronavirus Spending Shift Marketing Charts Image

Among U.S. marketers paid search garnered both the greatest rate of budget retention and the smallest expected spending decrease in a recent eMarketer survey, faring significantly better than display advertisements, paid social media, and digital video. While what will play out in the long term remains to be seen, initial survey results such as these point to continued opportunities in SEO-centric marketing efforts.

eMarketer Coronavirus Chart

This may be why Google has rolled out new SEO-related features to its Ads Editor that include a real-time optimization score, as the search giant seeks to improve one of the most-used ad tools, and why it has released a series of guides touting the benefits of SEO during the health crisis.

2 — SEO Helps as Pandemic Consumers Are Shopping Primarily Online

Both B2B and brick-and-mortar brands with shuttered physical locations during stay-at-home orders can benefit immensely from the benefits of SEO, as more business is moved online and more people are searching not only for goods and services, but for answers to new sets of questions brought about by the health crisis — questions your brand should be ready to answer in properly optimized content.

Marketer looking to create this type of optimized content can learn from our CEO Lee Odden, who asked 16 B2B experts for their top tips to optimize marketing performance in an article examining B2B marketing fitness.

As early reports have come in, both B2B and B2C brands have seen increased website traffic figures during the pandemic, up 13 percent in March 2020 compared to February, according to HubSpot benchmark data.

HubSpot Coronavirus Chart

With more people visiting B2B websites, it’s never been more important to have online content that’s properly indexed, easily findable, and that swiftly answers customer questions. Providing best-answer content is a key part of SEO best-practices, as we’ve written about in the following articles:

[bctt tweet="“With more people visiting B2B websites, it’s never been more important to have online content that’s properly indexed, easily findable, and that swiftly answers customer questions.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]

3 — SEO Platforms Help Maximize Remote Worker Efficiencies

There are perhaps more SEO platforms available now than ever, built to help businesses achieve successful ongoing search campaigns. During the best of times, using some of the top platform tools adds efficiency to teams tasked with SEO implementation. During the remote work boom caused by the health crisis, using such tools can provide even more efficiency to B2B firms that are increasingly turning to SEO.

Finding the right SEO platforms has been an ongoing challenge for B2B firms, which is why we recently researched nine of the top platforms, including how leaders at each is handling the pandemic both in their professional and personal lives, in “Best SEO Tips for Marketing During the Pandemic Plus 9 Top SEO Platforms.”

Even before the coronavirus hit, longtime SEO industry consultant Aleyda Solis predicted that SEO would play a major role in 2020 for B2B marketers, as she outlined in our annual “10 Top B2B SEO Trends & Predictions for 2020” roundup.

[bctt tweet="In 2020, I expect a growth in importance and usage of structured data, an increase in predictive search features, and a shift to a more technical SEO ecosystem. @aleyda" username="toprank"]

Recently Aleyda took to her video channel to discuss how SEO’s role will change during the health crisis, in “Coronavirus & SEO: Its Impact in traffic and business, and the actions to Take as an SEO Specialist.”

We've also explored how B2B marketers are successfully adapting to remote work, including the following recent articles:

4 — Doing SEO Now Will Strengthen Future Brand Efforts

As Patrick Reinhart, vice president of digital strategies at Conductor recently told Marketing Land’s Greg Sterling, “What a lot of businesses are doing right now is only talking about the virus and not talking about other ways to help their customers," Patrick said. "Right now is a great time to plant trees for SEO if you haven’t already. The trees you plant now will provide shade on sunny days in the future and there is nothing wrong with creating it along with content that addresses the current state of things,” he added.

While the pandemic has affected how SEO specialists both in-house and at agencies implement search strategies — as the following chart shows — businesses are continuing forward with SEO fundamentals that will help lay the foundation for expanded search success when the health crisis has passed.

North Star Inbound Image

[bctt tweet="“B2B marketers who continue forward now with SEO fundamentals will help lay the foundation for expanded search success when the health crisis has passed.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]

5 — SEO’s Stability Is Important For B2B Brands

With 47 percent of B2B customers using search to find information, suppliers, and solutions, SEO has always been important for B2B brands, and now its stability in times of flux adds to its marketing strength.

The pandemic has brought fluctuations to all areas of marketing, just as it’s affected many parts of our lives, and while search results haven’t been entirely immune — as shown in the following Google desktop result chart from an interesting look at “16-straight days of rankings volatility: SEOs dig into the COVID-19 effects on search” — the strength and endurance of SEO has brought it into more focus than ever.

Rank Ranger Search Engine Land Chart

Best-Answer B2B Marketing Solutions Increasingly Feature SEO

As we've examined, the time may be right for many B2B marketers to increase focus on SEO, because it has seen better performance and stability during the health crisis as more consumers than ever are conducting business online.

Paired with it's ability to increase remote work efficiency when the right SEO platforms are used, and considering SEO's overall effectiveness as a long-term strategy, B2B brands can benefit from turning to SEO for providing best-answer solutions, even during the pandemic.

The post SEO Strategy: 5 Reasons Why It’s More Important Than Ever For B2B Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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How to Use the LinkedIn Featured Section on Your Profile

Are you doing all you can on your profile? Wondering how to use the LinkedIn Featured section to your advantage? In this article, you’ll learn how to use the Featured section for LinkedIn profiles to showcase your most notable and up-to-date work samples and media mentions. What Is the Featured Section on LinkedIn? LinkedIn’s Featured section is […]

The post How to Use the LinkedIn Featured Section on Your Profile appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Break Free B2B Marketing: Gary Gerber on Scaling ABM without Losing Focus

Break Free B2B Series: Gary Gerber

Break Free B2B Series: Gary Gerber

When people think of account-based marketing (ABM), they tend to think of it as a smaller-scale practice. Since ABM is fundamentally built around focus in the aligned pursuit of high-value accounts, it’s often associated with a significant reduction in target market scope (i.e., “Let’s narrow down to our 20-30 most promising accounts).

This itself is a constraint from which B2B marketers need to break free, which is why Gary Gerber stood out as a fitting guest for the first interview in our second season of Break Free B2B. At B2B Marketing Exchange in February, he sat with TopRank Marketing President Susan Misukanis to unpack what’s needed to bring ABM to the next level.

Gary and his team at Folloze helped Cisco develop a sophisticated and highly effective ABM program that targeted 20,000 customers through one-on-one, personalized content and messaging.

How can other B2B marketers achieve this level of scalability in their ABM efforts, overcoming one of the biggest remaining hurdles holding back this fast-growing approach? In large part it’s about rethinking our tools, Gary suggests, while leaning on a rather literal metaphor.

“You have to focus away from blunt instrument tools,” he says. “I’m not bashing blunt instruments, by the way, because a hammer is one of the most useful tools in your toolkit, but you wouldn’t use it to repair a watch. So you need to migrate to tools that let you [achieve] that kind of precision, because that’s the only way you’re going to build trust with your customers.”

[bctt tweet="“A hammer is one of the most useful tools in your toolkit, but you wouldn’t use it to repair a watch.” @Gary_Gerber of @Folloze on the need for more precision in #ABM. #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]

Solutions like Folloze’s platform, which enables the delivery of personalized experiences at scale, are helping pave the way. But it’s not just about technology. Reaching a state of advanced ABM also requires shifts in organizational mindset, philosophy, and operation.

Gary and Susan cover the gamut in their 18-minute conversation. You can watch, listen, or find key excerpts and takeaways below.

Break Free B2B Interview with Gary Gerber

If you’re interested in checking out a particular portion of the discussion, you can find a quick general outline below, as well as a few excerpts that stood out to us.

  • 1:30 - Recognizing that change is inevitable
  • 2:30 - Where is ABM in terms of market maturity?
  • 4:45 - Helping clients recognize shortcomings and make incremental progress
  • 6:30 - Approaching the marketing funnel from an ABM standpoint
  • 9:30 - Re-centering on the fundamentals of ABM targeting
  • 11:15 - Where are you seeing successes in ABM?
  • 13:15 - Optimizing for the future by taking the right steps right now
  • 16:00 - Gary's personal hobbies and philosophies
  • 17:15 - How can modern digital marketers break free?

Susan: What's your consulting approach? As marketers, we can't just tell our clients, "You're wrong, do it my way." How do you inch them toward making incremental progress?

Gary: It's an interesting question because when we talk to people, the tools that people are using are the same ones that worked well 10 or 15 years ago. People built their careers on tools like marketing automation and things like that. So it is challenging to tell them, "Those tools are blunt instruments by today's standards."

You have to focus the other way, on what's not working, on the pain. Because there is pain there, especially if they're under the gun for an account-based program, and for pushing things through the funnel, right? We like to talk about the three symptoms that marketers today are subject to: funnel starvation, pipeline constipation, and sales frustration. They can't get stuff into the top of the funnel anymore, whatever they get in the funnel doesn't come out, and they're under the gun there because sales and the entire organization is looking to them to move opportunities and it's not happening. So if you can put it in terms along those lines most marketers will eventually have to concede. 'Cause everyone's feeling that pain in B2B.

[bctt tweet="“We like to talk about the three symptoms that marketers today are subject to: funnel starvation, pipeline constipation, and sales frustration.” @Gary_Gerber @Folloze #BreakFreeB2B #ABM" username="toprank"]

Susan: Do you counsel equal focus on the top, middle, and bottom of the funnel to try to get things moving? Or is the first thing, you gotta fix the top of the funnel? What's your methodology?

Gary: Well, if you think about what ABM is, especially if you're doing it right, it's almost not a funnel mentality at all anymore, right? We refer to it as full cycle personalization, or some people are saying bow tie. If you're approaching it with that funnel mentality, you've almost doomed yourself to failure right from the start in 2020.

[bctt tweet="“If you're approaching #ABM with that funnel mentality, you've almost doomed yourself to failure right from the start in 2020.” @Gary_Gerber @Folloze #BreakFreeB2B" username="toprank"]

There’s an analogy others are using and I agree with it: it’s like a football team or a soccer team running down the field together. So the focus isn't on top of funnel or middle of funnel, it's on -- by definition -- the accounts themselves. And as sales and marketing are running down the field, they're bringing the account and the individuals together along with them. It's a journey.

And so how do you do that? You can't do that by sending them mass emails because everybody's getting that. Ultimately what it's about, and I've said this to other people, it's about building that relationship with them. More importantly, it's about building a relationship that's built on trust, not on hype. Because if you've built that trust and you're adding that value to them that they trust you're interested in their success, and you're providing information and content and messaging and whatever it is, that will help them be successful. They'll happily march down the field with you because you're adding to their success.

Susan: So let's talk about what's working in ABM these days. Where are smart modern marketers really experiencing some great progress from your perspective?

Gary: Most people think of ABM, as you mentioned before, as, "Well, I'm going to pick my top 20 accounts and I'm going to focus everything I got on them, and the rest of the 88,000 or whatever, oh well too bad, them we'll just spray and pray with a nurture campaign or something like that." And it's interesting because when you stop and think about it logically, limiting it to your 20 or 25 or whatever, that's a technical limitation, right? It's because I can't do what I want to do -- create a deeply personalized, individualized, valuable, trust building experience -- with more than those 20 people because there's me and this person, that's all that we can do.

But there is no procedural reason for that. If you could do [personalization] for everybody, then you would, but you can't. And so, Cisco is a really awesome example. What they've been able to do is actually automate a lot of what's manual to create these very individualized experiences where they’re getting content, and imagery, and messaging, and information, and everything that is very salient to them, that they used to have to build by hand, so it took hours for each … it’s automated, so they kind of wind it up once and this goes out. So Cisco is actually doing one of the largest ABM programs in the country.

Stay tuned to the TopRank Marketing Blog and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Break Free B2B interviews. Here are a few interviews to whet your appetite:

The post Break Free B2B Marketing: Gary Gerber on Scaling ABM without Losing Focus appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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