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5 Key Insights from TrackMaven’s 2017 Digital Marketing Analytics Performance Report

In today’s changing digital landscape, marketers know that having good data and analytics are vital for understanding the impact of their digital marketing efforts. After all, in order to drive performance and prove ROI, you have to be able to measure what’s working and what’s not so you can address issues and capitalize on opportunities.

While digging into your brand’s own web and marketing analytics is an absolute must, understanding how you measure up to your industry peers can bring more insight and context—something TrackMaven’s 2017 Digital Marketing Analytics Performance Report aims to help with.

To create the report, TrackMaven used its digital marketing analytics platform to analyze a year’s worth of data—including social media performance, blog performance, public relations performance, and website health metrics—from over 700 businesses. The end product not only highlights trends, but also provides benchmarks and analysis of the most effective marketing channels across 13 industries and 39 sub-sectors.

Below we share five interesting takeaways, as well as some tips for using these insights to boost your efforts.

#1 – The higher education industry is killing it on social media.

According to the report, higher education institutions saw the highest social media follower growth across the social media landscape, averaging a 77% annual growth in followers. Of course, engaging social media content was a correlated factor, with the education industry ranking sixth in engagement out of the 13 industries analyzed.

Tip: Get to know your audience inside and out. From my perspective, achieving both follower growth and high engagement is directly tied to knowing who your audience is and using that information to deliver relevant, inspiring and valuable content.

Also, take some time to peruse social pages for higher ed institutions to get a feel for what their strategy is. Are they sharing tons of blog content? Are they highlighting students? Are they asking engaging questions? While your industry may be wildly different from higher education, you’ll likely find something worth tailoring and testing with your audience.

Achieving both follower growth & high engagement is directly tied to knowing who your audience is.
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#2 – Don’t underestimate the power of Pinterest for B2B.

While Instagram was found to be the overall engagement winner—with 12 out of the 13 industries seeing the highest engagement ratio on that platform—Pinterest is also an engagement driver, particularly for B2B brands.

As you can see in the graph below, for B2B industries such as software and applications and construction equipment, Pinterest is getting more engagement on average than Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

TrackMaven Report - Social Media Engagement Ratio

While this little tidbit did not get a special call out in the report, TrackMaven has highlighted Pinterest’s “hidden value” for B2B in the past, saying: “B2B marketers need to stop thinking of Pinterest as a simple bulletin board and start thinking of it as your company’s whiteboard.”

Tip: Most social media platforms are meant for communication, Pinterest is all about providing a place for users to discover new things and ideas, and find inspiration for all areas of their lives. Create boards that intertwine industry-specific topics, as well as boards that allow you to share your own compelling content and showcase your brand’s personality.

HubSpot is a great example of all this in action. With nearly 60 different boards, HubSpot shares fun facts, inspiring quotes, an inside look at their company culture, client spotlights and tons of marketing content.

Example of HubSpot on Pinterest

Some other B2B brands to look to for inspiration include FedEx, IBM, Adobe and Microsoft.

Read: Is Pinterest Still Alive & How Are Brands Using It?

#3 – Brands can take a content cue from the sports and entertainment industry.

According to the report, sports and entertainment brands have the strongest blog content performance on social media, with an average of 12,098 social shares per blog post. Of course, it’s also important to note that these brands are publishing an average of 55 blog posts per month—which comes in second for most posts published after the media and publishing industry, for obvious reasons.

Of course, sports and entertainment brands have one distinct advantage over other industries—timely, newsworthy items pop up pretty often, which gives them interesting content on the regular. But they’re still contending with competitors and news feed algorithms to get eyeballs to their content.

Regardless, for me the report findings still show that consistently publishing relevant, entertaining and valuable content, and amplifying it across your digital channels, is an absolute must.

Tip: Create a content creation and amplification calendar, that also builds in flex time to cover breaking industry news or timely topics that your audience will care about.

Build in flex time to cover breaking industry news or timely topics. @CaitlinMBurgess #digitalmarketing
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#4 – Website health varies widely from industry to industry.

To assess website health, TrackMaven averaged a year’s worth of Moz Domain Authority scores and ranked industries from lowest to highest—revealing a wide gap between industries.

For a quick overview, Moz’s Domain Authority is a 100-point logarithmic scale that uses more than 40 signals such as total number of links, MozRank and MozTrust to determine the strength of a website. Typically, sites with higher domain authority should fare better in organic search results—something of obvious importance to all brands.

According to the report, media and publishing brands ranked at the top with an average score of 86.23. Ranking at the bottom with 58.35 was the wellness industry. Those industries with scores under 60 get “failing grades” for website health, the report said.

Tip: Take advantage of Moz’s free tools to check the health of your website. Start by downloading and installing the free MozBar to get a high-level glance at what your Domain Authority looks like. In addition, use the Open Site Explorer option to see what quality link building opportunities exist, as well as get the scoop on how your competitors are doing, too. If you want to dive deeper, sign up for a free Moz Pro trial.

#5 – PR is an opportunity for all.

The higher education, media and publishing, and sports and entertainment industries consistently ranked at the top of performance areas in this report—and PR performance was no different. While more press mentions doesn’t necessarily equal more social shares of that mention, it’s clear that getting a little PR only adds to your digital marketing success.

Tip: Start building relationships with key industry news sites and publications, as well as industry thought leaders. Get on their radar by following and engaging with them on social media. When the time is right, reach out to introduce yourself and comment on the good work they’re doing.

Also, if you’re in the practice of sending out press releases, offer to give an exclusive interview with a key player in your organization. Journalists love exclusivity, and this could help you get your message out.

Finally, if you do get some good PR, amplify the crap out of it. If they’ve taken the time to write something good about you, thank them for it. This will also help you to continue to build that relationship.

If you get some good PR, amplify the crap out of it. @CaitlinMBurgess #digitalmarketing #socialmedia
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Want More Digital Marketing Analytics Performance Insights?

Read the full TrackMaven report here.

How do you plan to up the effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts this year? Tell us in the comments section.

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The post 5 Key Insights from TrackMaven’s 2017 Digital Marketing Analytics Performance Report appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews

Hand holding one of five white stars image.

Hand holding one of five white stars image.

What’s in a review?

With the right client testimonials and customer reviews, B2B brands can increase trust and loyalty in uncertain times while strengthening existing connections and fostering new ones. Your brand may even be sitting on a goldmine of evergreen trust-building user-generated content.

Let’s take a look at 20+ tips to invigorate and expand your B2B marketing toolkit with a smart customer review and testimonial strategy.

Making The Statistical Case For Testimonials & Reviews

With some surveys showing that  90 percent of adult Internet users rely on reviews before making purchases, and others placing the figure even higher at nearly 99 percent, it’s important for B2B brands to make sure they feature the reviews and testimonials their customers have taken the time to write and share online.

Despite their unique power to build brand trust, just 43 percent of B2B businesses use reviews in their marketing toolkit.

Conversion rates can skyrocket by as much as 270 percent when online reviews are smartly incorporated, however, as shown in the Website Builder Expert data below.

Website Builder Expert Image

Some 30 percent of businesses said that customer reviews had a major impact on their overall success, and just over 26 percent said reviews also had a major impact on profitability, as shown in the following chart from a recent ZenBusiness survey.

ZenBusiness Chart

The same survey revealed that 52.2 percent of older businesses monitor online reviews weekly and 18.5 percent do so daily, while 47 percent of newer firms monitor weekly, and 39.3 percent monitor daily, suggesting that more established brands have settled into a weekly cadence, while younger firms tend to keep a more frequent watch over reviews.

Businesses tend to monitor a multitude of online review platforms for reviews, with 67.6 percent using Google, 55.1 percent Facebook, and 46.3 percent Yelp, followed by others as shown below.

ZenBusiness Chart

Only 11.9 percent of businesses said that they respond to every review left for them, while 60 percent said that they interact with either some or most reviews they receive, the same survey noted.

Younger B2B buyers are increasingly looking for reviews and testimonials to be delivered to them in methods that differ from those of older buyers, creating an opportunity for some brands looking to connect with younger audiences.

“Sixty-one percent of Millennial buyer decisions are influenced by user reviews that they trust,” Brian Fanzo recently noted in “Meet The Millennials: How Marketers Can Effectively Connect With The New B2B Buyer,” urging smart B2B marketers to not rely solely on traditional websites, and to instead “bring the testimonials — the trusted user reviews — to the buyer.”

Brian was one of the 13 B2B social media marketing leaders offering trends and predictions in our "13 Top B2B Social Media Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2020."

His sentiments are largely echoed in report data recently examined by Social Media Today.

[bctt tweet="“In 2020 social media marketing will shift from vanity metrics to transparent and authentic channels to focus on real-time customer engagement.” @iSocialFanz" username="toprank"]

You May Already Have a Goldmine of Testimonials

Many established B2B brands may already have a fantastic cache of glowing testimonials from clients, however because some firms don't have any established practice for gathering, collecting, and most importantly utilizing them in marketing efforts, they remain mostly hidden.

Gathering existing reviews and testimonials can be a great way to get new insight into your most loyal customers, unearth any points of customer dissatisfaction, and to build new mechanisms for improving communication with your customers.

“Your offerings should be so attractive to your loyalists that they have no reason to look elsewhere for additional products or services,” Rob Markey wrote in an insightful Harvard Business Review look at how to “Make It Easier for Happy Customers to Buy More.”

Client and customer kudos today comes from more channels than ever, which can make it challenging to gather and compile into a dedicated testimonials file. A list of only a few of the digital channels to search for possible existing testimonials includes:

  • Email Correspondence
  • Online Collaboration Tool Chat History
  • Private Social Media Posts
  • Public Social Media Posts
  • Mobile Device Text Message History
  • Voicemail Transcripts

Whether it's each quarter, weekly, or every day, taking the time to mine testimonials from each of the channels your firm user is a great way to unearth potentially powerful customer and client testimonials.

Tactfully encouraging clients to consider leaving a review or testimonial is a nuanced process best customized on a per-client basis, however there are also some universal methods to help guide a good strategy, such as those outlined in “14 Proven Ways to Encourage Customers to Write Reviews.”

Social media and search engine firms have also done their part to try boosting the visibility of customer reviews, such as Google adding highlighted business reviews in Google Posts.

[bctt tweet="“Whether it's each quarter, weekly, or every day, taking the time to mine testimonials from each of the channels your firm user is a great way to unearth potentially powerful customer and client testimonials.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]

Testimonials & Reviews Increase Trust & Loyalty

Trust is paramount as B2B marketers seek to attract, engage, and convert new clients, and testimonials and reviews from satisfied existing customers are among the most powerful forms of messaging when it comes to earning the business of potential new clients.

It's no secret that for many years study after study has shown that testimonials and reviews hold the power to build trust, and ultimately help persuade people to engage your company's services.

Some 90 percent of B2B buyers said that they are more likely to complete a purchase after seeing a positive review.

[bctt tweet="“High rates of loyalty are a huge asset in business. They provide a necessary foundation for profitable growth.” — Rob Markey @rgmarkey" username="toprank"]

The earned power of trust becomes even more apparent when paired with survey data showing that globally 54 percent of consumers would still buy from a brand even after a negative product experience if they felt that a firm hadn’t broken trust.

When trust has been lost, however, some 82 percent said that they would not purchase again from the brand, highlighting the importance of building brand trust — something reviews and testimonials excel at.

Testimonials & Reviews Strengthen Existing Connections & Foster New Ones

Testimonials and reviews showcase the ability of your business to provide best-answer solutions so well that people take the time to personally write appreciative messages sharing their gratitude.

Testimonials and reviews also take good business partnerships and strengthen them, and help bring B2B relationships to new levels of commitment and trust.

62 percent of consumers leave positive reviews in order to help others in making buying decisions, while 52 percent say they leave negative reviews to warn others, as shown below.

Website Builder Expert Image

The connections forged through testimonials and reviews makes the relationship between your business and your clients stronger, and also serve as an important and visible example for potential new clients who are looking for information about your company.

More firms are also making it easy for customers to leave video feedback, such as a method Airbnb has implemented that mimics the ease of use users have come to expect for sharing videos on YouTube or Instagram.

The video review format has led some customers to share lengthier and more precise feedback, which in turn allows businesses greater insight into their customers.

“Videos can be richly emotional — offering the real voice and face of the customer. That emotion, transmitted directly to front-line employees and leaders, often generates the sort of empathy that inspires and motivates thoughtful action,” Rob Markey has noted.

By making video reviews a simple and optional part of customer feedback surveys, brands can have the best of both traditional text-based input and — for those who choose — the advantages of video reviews.

“If they say yes, then we've incorporated a video widget into the survey where they can just turn the camera on on their phone or computer and leave a response,” Airbnb customer insights manager Raj Sivasubramanian has said.

“The customers that chose that option really embraced it. And we actually had a lot of customers tell us in the video, ‘This is really cool. I love the fact that I can do this,’” Sivasubramanian added.

B2B firms can also utilize more formal video testimonials into their feedback efforts, as Business 2 Community explored in a helpful how-to guide, “How to Shoot the Perfect Video Testimonial.

[bctt tweet="“Testimonials and reviews take good business partnerships and strengthen them, and help bring B2B relationships to new levels of commitment and trust.” — Lane R. Ellis @lanerellis" username="toprank"]

The Challenge of Combating Inauthentic Reviews

While no firm wants poor reviews, they are nonetheless important in their own way to consumers. 62 percent of U.S. consumers found that negative reviews were just as important as positive ones when it came time to make purchasing decisions.

Customers have grown to be suspicious of businesses that have conspicuously uniform five-star reviews, however, and more now say that they look to utilize multiple sources of reviews when researching a firm.

Despite this, 65 percent of U.S. adult consumers believe the reviews they read are generally accurate, however.

Recent survey data has also shown that 55 percent of consumers see the biggest red flag with reviews that use the same wording, while 35 percent view an overwhelming number of positive reviews to be indicative of inauthentic reviews, as shown below.

Bazaarvoice Chart

Testimonials & Reviews Are Evergreen

Most testimonials focus on the things that a client or customer loved about working with your team, and these are also largely the type of praise that isn't particularly directed at a specific time, which makes testimonials excellent sources of evergreen content that can often remain relevant and convincing for years.

HubSpot has compiled an extensive list of good examples of testimonial pages that can serve as inspiration, in Lindsay Kolowich’s “14 Testimonial Page Examples You'll Want to Copy,” showing how to implement quotes, video, audio, case study, customer interview and other types of testimonials.

To help you along your path to building more powerful testimonials and reviews into your current strategy, or to begin implementing your first such plan, here are several additional recent resources that have been published:

Reinvigorate Your B2B Marketing Testimonial Strategy

We hope this introductory look at the power of client testimonials and customer reviews to help B2B brands boost trust and loyalty and strengthen connections has been helpful, and that the tips and statistics we’ve shared will help make your marketing testimonial strategy more robust and successful.

The post 5 Stars: 20+ Tips to Invigorate Your B2B Marketing Using Testimonials & Reviews appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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