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24 Useful Tools and Apps for Marketers

Wondering how to get more marketing tasks done in a day? Looking for some fun tools to try? In this article, you’ll find 24 mobile apps and desktop tools from the Social Media Marketing podcast’s Discovery of the Week. #1: Stories Creator Stories Creator helps you create batches of images for Facebook or Instagram Stories. […]

The post 24 Useful Tools and Apps for Marketers appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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11 Qualities You Should be Looking for to Find Your B2B Influencer Match

The post 11 Qualities You Should be Looking for to Find Your B2B Influencer Match appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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9 Ways to Increase Your Messenger Bot Engagement

Do you want more people to interact with your Facebook Messenger bot? Wondering how and where to promote your chatbot? In this article, you’ll discover how to encourage people to engage with your Messenger bot on Facebook. #1: Incentivize Messenger Bot Subscribers With Exclusive Access Messenger bots aren’t the most conspicuous mainstream marketing channels, so […]

The post 9 Ways to Increase Your Messenger Bot Engagement appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Four SaaS Marketing Techniques (That You Might Have Overlooked)

Jeremy Ellens of LeadQuizzes talks about four marketing techniques that SaaS businesses sometimes overlook...and how you can take advantage of them.

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Instagram bio ideas and tips for maximizing your account

Racking your brain trying to write the perfect Instagram bio? The struggle is real. Because those 150 characters represent one of the most important Read more...

This post Instagram bio ideas and tips for maximizing your account originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Q2 Wrap-Up: Top Changes & What’s Ahead For Marketers

Q2 Digital Marketing Recap Technical Image

Q2 Digital Marketing Recap Technical Image

We've made it through the second quarter of 2019, one filled with many important B2B marketing changes and several unexpected twists and turns that will all combine to affect how the industry moves forward as we enter Q3 and push ahead to 2020.

Q2 saw several exciting shifts in entirely new directions, and a few seemingly slight directional maneuvers and adjustments that are nonetheless set to make big impacts in the coming year.

We're always working to bring you the most relevant B2B marketing news, including weekly industry news videos from Tiffani Allen and Joshua Nite here on our blog and on our TopRank Marketing YouTube channel, and each quarter we reflect on what's happened and look ahead with key trends.

Let's take a look at both the challenges and opportunities the quarter's top B2B marketing news has brought.

The Digital Marketing Sights and Sounds of Q2

When It Comes to Digital Marketing Spending …

Forecasts from the quarter show that global digital advertising spending is expected to continue to climb over the next four years, including a prediction from Juniper Research that spending will reach $520 billion by 2023, and that:

  • Spending will increase significantly from 2019's $294 billion
  • Amazon’s share is projected to hit 8% — up from 2018’s 3%
  • Google’s digital ad revenue is expected to top $230 billion by 2023


What Else?

    • 63% of B2B companies plan to raise spending on email marketing, with top goals being increased engagement, conversion, and lead generation, according to survey data released during the beginning of the quarter. (MediaPost)
    • By 2019 global digital advertising spending is expected to increase 4.7%, up from the 4% predicted in December 2018, while by 2021 spend will reach $329 billion, some of the trends of interest to digital marketers among forecast data released during Q2 by Zenith. (Marketing Dive)
    • Digital video advertising spend has seen continued growth according to IAB study data, with the average survey advertiser projected to spend $18 million in 2019, up from 2018's $14.2 million, one of several items of interest to digital marketers in the Q2 report. (Adweek)
    • Twitter's advertising revenue expanded by 18% year-over-year to $679 million during the first quarter of 2019, while ad engagement on the platform saw a 23% increase with cost-per-engagement decreasing by 4%, according to the social firm's earnings statement that came out in Q2. (MarTech Today)
    • A Q2 Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report showed that 2018 was the first year U.S. digital advertising earnings topped the $100 billion mark, hitting $107.5 billion, up from 2017's $88.3 billion, led primarily by the strength of mobile and video. Users also spent 22% more time on social media properties in 2018 than during 2017, the report detailed. (Adweek)
    • Social media advertising spending has risen 27% year-over-year, topped by a 44% increase for video ads, with accompanying impressions also up 20%, some of the results of interest to digital marketers in report data from Kenshoo's trends report. (ClickZ)
    • The highly-anticipated Internet Trends report for 2019 was released at the end of Q2, including digital spending data of interest to digital marketers. For more than 21 years venture capitalist Mary Meeker, partner at Kleiner Perkins, has researched and put out the report, this year weighing in at 333 pages. I recently took an in-depth look at the report.

Meeker Media Time

  • Digital ad sales are expected to grow by 14% in 2019, according to additional forecast data, a bright spot in predictions showing a slowdown in the overall rate of growth for ad sales, down from 2018's 8% to 5%. (AdAge)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Search Marketing …

Q2 saw Google launch a search update focused on domain diversity, by having fewer first-page results that come from the same domain, and the search giant also rolled out several other changes including:


What Else?

  • Google rolled out automatic transcription to certain podcasts on its Google Podcasts app, providing a boon to discoverability via search that will likely help attract new audiences to podcast episodes that include Google's new podcast metadata. (Search Engine Land)
  • Display and video ads sold with Google Ad Manager, Google's ad server and publisher exchange, got additional auction functionality aimed at removing Google's "last-look" outbidding advantage, while also bringing new minimum pricing strategies and rules. (Marketing Land)
  • Google's annual Marketing Live event saw the firm announce expanded mobile-first native ads that display in a more visually-rich view across multiple Google feed environments, along with mobile-only gallery ads and several other features of interest to online marketers. (Search Engine Land)
  • 20% of Android Google App searches now come from voice, and SEMrush examined ranking factors including the importance of first-page placement and other facets of voice search. (SEMrush)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Content Marketing …

The end of Q2 saw content marketers getting new data on the optimal times for publishing content on various social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Sprout Social updated its best-times-to-post study, showing that:

  • Facebook content posted on Wednesdays from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. has the greatest engagement
  • Instagram also shows Wednesday as the top day, along with Fridays between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
  • Twitter posts have the greatest success when made on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • *LinkedIn posts were seen to get the highest engagement on Wednesdays between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.


What Else?

  • Instagram began offering a new branded content ad option that allows organic branded content feed posts from creators, expanding the Facebook-owned platform's tools for digital marketers. The new ads contain "Paid Partnership," and are part of Instagram's efforts at increased ad transparency. (Adweek)
  • The end of Q2 saw the release of Edelman's annual Trust Barometer report, showing that 75% of consumers now value trust over trendiness, along with a wide swatch of other digital marketing insights. (AdAge)
  • The hyper-personalised advertising brands can deliver with the nascent efforts at merging DNA analysis with marketing may be uncharted waters, but some marketers began testing the genetic marketing waters during Q2. (Marketing Dive)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Social Media …

Several Q2 reports pointed to social media usage remaining mostly unchanged, while the way people use social platforms has shifted, offering digital marketers new opportunities as well as some additional new hurdles to conquer.

  • Instagram was the only major social media platform to see an significant increase in usage among U.S. adults since early 2018 according to Q2 Pew Research survey data, showing the rest of the most popular platforms saw statistically unchanged usage, with slowing growth across the board aside from the Facebook-owned Instagram. (Pew Research Center)
  • The Q2 Edison Research and Triton Digital Social Habit study showed largely unchanged social media usage over the past four years, yet some growth for Instagram among young Americans, a drop in Facebook's popularity, and several other statistics of interest to digital marketers. (Convince and Convert)
  • 2019 will be the first year during which more people — 51.7% — use social media platforms from mobile devices than from computers, and those using mobile for all their Internet usage is also expected to increase by 10.6%, according to research data on U.S. social network users released during the quarter. (eMarketer)


What Else?

  • Facebook advertisers and users of the firm's Business Manager platform got new layout changes and features, including streamlined Ads Manager navigation and tools to improve new client on-boarding, Facebook announced in Q2. (Marketing Land)
  • LinkedIn saw revenue growth of 27% for FY19 Q3, a 24% increase in on-platform sessions, and record engagement and job posting levels, according to report data from parent company Microsoft. (Social Media Today)
  • Q2 study data showed significant differences in social media usage not only between traditional age group categories, but also within generational groups, such as older Gen Xers using LinkedIn 9% more than average consumers, while younger Gen Xers use Instagram 11% more than average. The study offered a variety of demographic information of interest to digital marketers. (Adweek)
  • Social Media Examiner released its eleventh-annual social media marketing industry report, offering 46 pages of statistical data gathered from surveying over 4,800 marketers, offering insight and interpretation on how a variety of social media platforms and practices are working for marketers today. (Social Media Examiner)
  • U.S. adults are using Instagram more than ever, at an average of 27 minutes daily and expected to increase through 2020, while Facebook and Snapchat have both seen a drop in the average number of minutes of use per day, according to Q2 forecast data from consultancy eMarketer. (eMarketer)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to Influencer Marketing …

Implementation of B2B influencer marketing continued to expand during Q2. Last month our CEO Lee Odden examined this growth and shared 7 Top B2B Influencer Marketing Trends for 2020, including:

  • Increased use of AI
  • Democratized Influence
  • Brandividal Media
  • More Engaging Content Formats 
  • Influencer Tech Integration with other Martech
  • Consumerization of B2B Influencers and Content
  • Influencer Experience Management

What Else?

  • Influencer marketing saw success in numerous industries, delivering strong performance to some firms in the travel industry, and MarTech Advisor took a look at which influencer marketing strategies have worked well in this market. (MarTech Advisor)
  • Influencer marketing statistics were explored in infographic form, including predictions showing the practice is poised to top the $10 billion mark by 2022, and revealing a 1,500% increase in searches for information about influencer marketing over the past three years. (Social Media Today)
  • Instagram tested the elimination of likes and follower counts as a possible method for driving more focus to content, and Marketing Land took a look at the impact such a move by the Facebook-owned platform could have on influencer marketing. (Marketing Land)
  • Customized influencer apps released during Q2 from decentralized social media platform Escapex represent a new twist on a longstanding social media theme, bringing new challenges and opportunities for digital marketers. (Fast Company)

Read more on this topic:

When It Comes to The TopRank Marketing Team …

The team at TopRank Marketing has had a busy, exciting, and productive Q2, and here are just a few of some of the  team’s highlights in the press during the querter:

  • Marketing Influencers: Our 2019 Top 30 (ExoB2B)
  • Modern Marketing Influencer Series: Key Ingredients of a Great Content Marketing Strategy for 2019 (Oracle Modern Marketing Blog) (client)
  • An Undervalued Work Management Strategy: Listening (Workfront)
  • B2B Lead Generation Ideas: A Full-course Content Planning Dinner (DivvyHQ)
  • Learn How To Solve The Experience Equation With The Right Technology And The Right Strategy (Digitalist Magazine)
  • Influencer Marketing Trends for 2019 - A live interview with TopRank's Lee Odden  (Rival IQ)
  • A Sophisticated Marketer’s Perspective: Lee Odden on Ruling the Content Kingdom (LinkedIn)
  • Leading Influencer Marketing Agencies (Influencer Marketing Hub)
  • B2B Influencer Marketing in 2019 (Rival IQ)
  • Top 31 Best Social Media Blogs of 2019 (HowSociable)
  • Onalytica - The Influential Times Episode 1 [Podcast] (Onalytica)
  • 10 branding strategies for your small business to build awareness and loyalty (Intuit / QuickBooks)
  • How a Best Answer Content Strategy Drives B2B Marketing Results [BuzzSumo Webinar Video] (YouTube / BuzzSumo)

Goodbye, Q2. Hello and Welcome, Q3.

B2B marketers, we hope that your Q3 is filled with plenty of success and innovation, and hope that you'll join us each week and keep up with the latest industry news, trends, and opportunities in our Digital Marketing News Roundup, with highlights and video commentary from Tiffani Allen and Joshua Nite.

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

The post Q2 Wrap-Up: Top Changes & What’s Ahead For Marketers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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5 Overlooked Facebook Audiences to Improve Your Ad Results

Are you looking for new audiences to target with your Facebook ad campaigns? Wondering how to best reach new prospects with your ads? In this article, you’ll learn how to create five valuable Facebook audiences in Ads Manager. Why Target Multiple Facebook Audiences? The effectiveness your Facebook ad campaigns are depends on which audience you’re […]

The post 5 Overlooked Facebook Audiences to Improve Your Ad Results appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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AMP’d Up for Recaptcha

Beyond search Google controls the leading distributed ad network, the leading mobile OS, the leading web browser, the leading email client, the leading web analytics platform, the leading free video hosting site.

They win a lot.

And they take winnings from one market & leverage them into manipulating adjacent markets.

Embrace. Extend. Extinguish.

AMP is an utterly unnecessary invention designed to further shift power to Google while disenfranchising publishers. From the very start it had many issues with basic things like supporting JavaScript, double counting unique users (no reason to fix broken stats if they drive adoption!), not supporting third party ad networks, not showing publisher domain names, and just generally being a useless layer of sunk cost technical overhead that provides literally no real value.

Over time they have corrected some of these catastrophic deficiencies, but if it provided real value, they wouldn't have needed to force adoption with preferential placement in their search results. They force the bundling because AMP sucks.

Absurdity knows no bounds. Googlers suggest: "AMP isn’t another “channel” or “format” that’s somehow not the web. It’s not a SEO thing. It’s not a replacement for HTML. It’s a web component framework that can power your whole site. ... We, the AMP team, want AMP to become a natural choice for modern web development of content websites, and for you to choose AMP as framework because it genuinely makes you more productive."

Meanwhile some newspapers have about a dozen employees who work on re-formatting content for AMP.

Feeeeeel the productivity!

Some content types (particularly user generated content) can be unpredictable & circuitous. For many years forums websites would use keywords embedded in the search referral to highlight relevant parts of the page. Keyword (not provided) largely destroyed that & then it became a competitive feature for AMP: "If the Featured Snippet links to an AMP article, Google will sometimes automatically scroll users to that section and highlight the answer in orange."

That would perhaps be a single area where AMP was more efficient than the alternative. But it is only so because Google destroyed the alternative by stripping keyword referrers from search queries.

The power dynamics of AMP are ugly:

"I see them as part of the effort to normalise the use of the AMP Carousel, which is an anti-competitive land-grab for the web by an organisation that seems to have an insatiable appetite for consuming the web, probably ultimately to it’s own detriment. ... This enables Google to continue to exist after the destination site (eg the New York Times) has been navigated to. Essentially it flips the parent-child relationship to be the other way around. ... As soon as a publisher blesses a piece of content by packaging it (they have to opt in to this, but see coercion below), they totally lose control of its distribution. ... I’m not that smart, so it’s surely possible to figure out other ways of making a preload possible without cutting off the content creator from the people consuming their content. ... The web is open and decentralised. We spend a lot of time valuing the first of these concepts, but almost none trying to defend the second. Google knows, perhaps better than anyone, how being in control of the user is the most monetisable position, and having the deepest pockets and the most powerful platform to do so, they have very successfully inserted themselves into my relationship with millions of other websites. ... In AMP, the support for paywalls is based on a recommendation that the premium content be included in the source of the page regardless of the user’s authorisation state. ... These policies demonstrate contempt for others’ right to freely operate their businesses.

After enough publishers adopted AMP Google was able to turn their mobile app's homepage into an interactive news feed below the search box. And inside that news feed Google gets to distribute MOAR ads while 0% of the revenue from those ads find its way to the publishers whose content is used to make up the feed.

Appropriate appropriation. :D

Each additional layer of technical cruft is another cost center. Things that sound appealing at first blush may not be:

The way you verify your identity to Let's Encrypt is the same as with other certificate authorities: you don't really. You place a file somewhere on your website, and they access that file over plain HTTP to verify that you own the website. The one attack that signed certificates are meant to prevent is a man-in-the-middle attack. But if someone is able to perform a man-in-the-middle attack against your website, then he can intercept the certificate verification, too. In other words, Let's Encrypt certificates don't stop the one thing they're supposed to stop. And, as always with the certificate authorities, a thousand murderous theocracies, advertising companies, and international spy organizations are allowed to impersonate you by design.

Anything that is easy to implement & widely marketed often has costs added to it in the future as the entity moves to monetize the service.

This is a private equity firm buying up multiple hosting control panels & then adjusting prices.

This is Google Maps drastically changing their API terms.

This is Facebook charging you for likes to build an audience, giving your competitors access to those likes as an addressable audience to advertise against, and then charging you once more to boost the reach of your posts.

This is Grubhub creating shadow websites on your behalf and charging you for every transaction created by the gravity of your brand.

Shivane believes GrubHub purchased her restaurant’s web domain to prevent her from building her own online presence. She also believes the company may have had a special interest in owning her name because she processes a high volume of orders. ... it appears GrubHub has set up several generic, templated pages that look like real restaurant websites but in fact link only to GrubHub. These pages also display phone numbers that GrubHub controls. The calls are forwarded to the restaurant, but the platform records each one and charges the restaurant a commission fee for every order

Settling for the easiest option drives a lack of differentiation, embeds additional risk & once the dominant player has enough marketshare they'll change the terms on you.

Small gains in short term margins for massive increases in fragility.

"Closed platforms increase the chunk size of competition & increase the cost of market entry, so people who have good ideas, it is a lot more expensive for their productivity to be monetized. They also don't like standardization ... it looks like rent seeking behaviors on top of friction" - Gabe Newell

The other big issue is platforms that run out of growth space in their core market may break integrations with adjacent service providers as each want to grow by eating the other's market.

Those who look at SaaS business models through the eyes of a seasoned investor will better understand how markets are likely to change:

"I’d argue that many of today’s anointed tech “disruptors” are doing little in the way of true disruption. ... When investors used to get excited about a SAAS company, they typically would be describing a hosted multi-tenant subscription-billed piece of software that was replacing a ‘legacy’ on-premise perpetual license solution in the same target market (i.e. ERP, HCM, CRM, etc.). Today, the terms SAAS and Cloud essentially describe the business models of every single public software company.

Most platform companies are initially required to operate at low margins in order to buy growth of their category & own their category. Then when they are valued on that, they quickly need to jump across to adjacent markets to grow into the valuation:

Twilio has no choice but to climb up the application stack. This is a company whose ‘disruption’ is essentially great API documentation and gangbuster SEO spend built on top of a highly commoditized telephony aggregation API. They have won by marketing to DevOps engineers. With all the hype around them, you’d think Twilio invented the telephony API, when in reality what they did was turn it into a product company. Nobody had thought of doing this let alone that this could turn into a $17 billion company because simply put the economics don’t work. And to be clear they still don’t. But Twilio’s genius CEO clearly gets this. If the market is going to value robocalls, emergency sms notifications, on-call pages, and carrier fee passed through related revenue growth in the same way it does ‘subscription’ revenue from Atlassian or ServiceNow, then take advantage of it while it lasts.

Large platforms offering temporary subsidies to ensure they dominate their categories & companies like SoftBank spraying capital across the markets is causing massive shifts in valuations:

I also think if you look closely at what is celebrated today as innovation you often find models built on hidden subsidies. ... I’d argue the very distributed nature of microservices architecture and API-first product companies means addressable market sizes and unit economics assumptions should be even more carefully scrutinized. ... How hard would it be to create an Alibaba today if someone like SoftBank was raining money into such a greenfield space? Excess capital would lead to destruction and likely subpar returns. If capital was the solution, the 1.5 trillion that went into telcos in late '90s wouldn’t have led to a massive bust. Would a Netflix be what it is today if a SoftBank was pouring billions into streaming content startups right as the experiment was starting? Obviously not. Scarcity of capital is another often underappreciated part of the disruption equation. Knowing resources are finite leads to more robust models. ... This convergence is starting to manifest itself in performance. Disney is up 30% over the last 12 months while Netflix is basically flat. This may not feel like a bubble sign to most investors, but from my standpoint, it’s a clear evidence of the fact that we are approaching a something has got to give moment for the way certain businesses are valued."

Circling back to Google's AMP, it has a cousin called Recaptcha.

Recaptcha is another AMP-like trojan horse:

According to tech statistics website Built With, more than 650,000 websites are already using reCaptcha v3; overall, there are at least 4.5 million websites use reCaptcha, including 25% of the top 10,000 sites. Google is also now testing an enterprise version of reCaptcha v3, where Google creates a customized reCaptcha for enterprises that are looking for more granular data about users’ risk levels to protect their site algorithms from malicious users and bots. ... According to two security researchers who’ve studied reCaptcha, one of the ways that Google determines whether you’re a malicious user or not is whether you already have a Google cookie installed on your browser. ... To make this risk-score system work accurately, website administrators are supposed to embed reCaptcha v3 code on all of the pages of their website, not just on forms or log-in pages.

About a month ago when logging into Bing Ads I saw recaptcha on the login page & couldn't believe they'd give Google control at that access point. I think they got rid of that, but lots of companies are perhaps shooting themselves in the foot through a combination of over-reliance on Google infrastructure AND sloppy implementation

Today when making a purchase on Fiverr, after converting, I got some of this action

Hmm. Maybe I will enable JavaScript and try again.


That is called snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

My account is many years old. My payment type on record has been used for years. I have ordered from the particular seller about a dozen times over the years. And suddenly because my web browser had JavaScript turned off I was deemed a security risk of some sort for making an utterly ordinary transaction I have already completed about a dozen times.

On AMP JavaScript was the devil. And on desktop not JavaScript was the devil.

Pro tip: Ecommerce websites that see substandard conversion rates from using Recaptcha can boost their overall ecommerce revenue by buying more Google AdWords ads.


As more of the infrastructure stack is driven by AI software there is going to be a very real opportunity for many people to become deplatformed across the web on an utterly arbitrary basis. That tech companies like Facebook also want to create digital currencies on top of the leverage they already have only makes the proposition that much scarier.

If the tech platforms host copies of our sites, process the transactions & even create their own currencies, how will we know what level of value they are adding versus what they are extracting?

Who measures the measurer?

And when the economics turn negative, what will we do if we are hooked into an ecosystem we can't spend additional capital to get out of when things head south?


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TikTok Self-Serve Ads Platform to Launch

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 TikTok’s upcoming ads platform with Rachel Pedersen. We also talk about Twitter’s new desktop redesign with Dan […]

The post TikTok Self-Serve Ads Platform to Launch appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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The Myth of the Brand Promise

How do you strengthen a struggling brand? Rebranding is a quick fix. But that’s like painting a house instead of fixing the wiring or a faulty foundation. Rebranding alone doesn’t provide lasting results. Another frequent error is to make brand promises. This will only serve to create doubt. People will naturally want to counter your […]

The post The Myth of the Brand Promise appeared first on MarketingExperiments.

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