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Tag Archives: internet technology

6 Facebook Ad Copy Secrets to Improve Your Conversions

Want better Facebook ad conversions? Wondering how to write compelling Facebook ad copy? In this article, you’ll learn how to write Facebook ad copy that improves your conversions. #1: Use the “So That” Statement The most common Facebook ad copy mistake I see is writing about the features of a product or service, rather than […]

The post 6 Facebook Ad Copy Secrets to Improve Your Conversions appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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What You’ll Learn at CTAConf 2019: Agenda, Speakers, and More

Raise your marketing IQ at Call to Action Conference 2019 with 20 brilliant speakers and over 1,000 fellow marketers this September.

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How to Power Marketing Presentations With Data Visualization & Win Over Your Audience

Data Visualization for Marketing Presentations

Data Visualization for Marketing Presentations

We’ve all been there. We’re five minutes into (what we thought would be) a riveting, data-driven presentation, yet a quick scan of the room reveals the audience is staring blankly at our data tables as we drone on. Or worse, someone asks a pointed question about what they do or don’t see and the discussion goes completely of course. Yikes.

Perhaps the best advice I ever received in this regard was so simple yet incredibly smart: “Try it as a line graph.”

I had presented a data-backed presentation and robust recommended next steps, but whether it was boredom or data suspicion that crept in, I failed to make my case. After the weeks I spent looking at a spreadsheet, I took that visionary advice. When the day came to remake my case, that line graph immediately won my critics over.

When done thoughtfully, data visualizations have the power to change perspectives, far more quickly than a spreadsheet or bullet points on a slide. Data visualization allows us to take complex or even simple data sets, and present them in a way that allows us to see context, make comparisons, and enable decision-making. 

The good news? Giving your data a visual identity is easier than you think.

The Case for Data Visualization

This is going to sound cliché, but we marketers really do have more data at our fingertips than ever before. And visualization is key in order for us to really leverage that data to tell a story and win over our bosses, colleagues, and customers.

Here’s a simple example. First, the spreadsheet version:

What can you take away from this example in just 5 seconds? 10 seconds? 30 seconds? July 2018 and December 2017 seemed to be big months. There was definitely some growth in the last two years. But how much? Is it consistent? How are we trending?

Now, let’s look at this data as a line graph:

Data in a Spreadsheet

Whoa! 2018 outperformed 2017 by quite a bit overall. However, 2017 traffic was on the up and up, and that momentum slowed in 2018. With the exception of a mid-year spike, 2018 traffic was flat, and dipped below year-over-year totals by the end of the year.

Data in a Line Graph

The beauty here? As we prepare to deliver the data to our audience, we can draw some pretty important conclusions at a glance, helping us quickly arrive at what we need to find out next: What caused that big spike in July 2018? Is it an outlier or did we have an effective campaign running? What did the tactical mix look like throughout 2017? What were the top pages contributing to steady growth? Did we make major changes at the beginning of 2018?

This not only helps us dig deeper into our data to understand trends and opportunities, but also prepare us to craft a narrative and answer the questions our bosses, colleagues, or clients will undoubtedly have about performance. After all, flashing a spreadsheet and then telling someone traffic is up year-over-year overall but flat month-over-month for the current year is not going to deliver much wow.

How to Get the Storytelling Started with Data Visualization

Creating a narrative, choosing your data set, perfecting your visualization, and adding context are essential for being able to persuade any sort of action or reaction with data. But whether you are using a simple Excel graph or a custom data visualization tool, here are some great tips to get started. 

Tip #1 - Start with your story and frame it for your audience.

Let’s say you’re presenting the results of your most recent marketing campaign to your internal stakeholders. It can be tempting to throw up any data point you can get your hands on, trying to see what sticks.

Don’t do that. Your boss probably doesn’t care about how many shares you got on that one blog post or how many seconds someone spent on a video. They care about new prospects, re-engaged prospects, or advocacy. 

  • Stay laser focused on your objective: What are you trying to achieve with this presentation? A bigger budget? A promotion? A shift in tactics internally? Every data visualization included should tell that story. Too many data points can muddy the narrative and reduce your impact. 
  • Use your audience’s lens: Focus on the data you know is most important to your audience. Think of previous presentations you’ve done with them. Was there a particular data visualization they loved or one they pushed back on? Edit accordingly. If it’s your first time presenting to this audience, then use what you know based on job titles or culture in your office. 

One mistake it can be easy to make as marketers, is slipping into marketing lingo (e.g. sessions, shares, click-through-rate, bounce-rate). One simple shift if you’re presenting outside of your team, is shift your language to focus on meaningful business metrics. For example:  Instead of saying visitor, say potential prospect. 

Tip #2 - Design for comprehension.

Data visualization is so awesome because it’s able to allow humans to quickly make comparisons and decisions quickly, even with a complex data set. 

So create charts with comprehension in mind. If your audience is staring at a graph trying to figure out what it means, they’re probably not listening to your supporting narrative. So make it easy for them to understand. Here are a few things to keep in mind: 

Label Everything: This seems straight forward, but nothing is worse than when someone pauses you mid sentence to ask you to clarify your data set. So, label your chart, axes, legend, and so on. Also include a note on time frame and data source. Make sure all labels are visible and not obstructed by other text. 

Chart Type: Choose the chart type that most efficiently illustrates your point:

  • Bar charts are best for comparing discrete values. 
  • Line charts are intended for a continuous data set.
  • Pie charts show the element something else is made up of, and are not ideal for comparing values.
  • Stacked bar charts are best to compare different items and show the composition.

For example, while the pie chart allows us to see a breakdown of traffic sources, the placement of legend, the close color families, and a similar proportion of the individual pieces make it difficult for a true comparison. With the bar chart, however, you can easily see how the traffic sources stack up next to one another. 

Data in Bar Graph

Color: Incorporating color to help tell your story can be very powerful, but can also lend confusion. A few practical things to consider: 

  • Don’t choose colors that are low contrast. Consider the fact that you may be presenting on a different monitor and the audience will be further away from the screen. 
  • Use the same color to represent data from the same grouping or data set (e.g. all points from 2018 are in green and 2019 in yellow.)
  • Be careful about using colors that have significant meaning on their own (e.g. bright red is always going to set off an alarm bell, whereas green tends to indicate something is good.)
  • Use accent colors to highlight really key data points. This can draw your audience’s eye immediately and increase comprehension. 

A couple final thoughts here: 

  • Add call-outs to your slides so you can help your audience understand a data set really quickly (e.g. Sales reached an all time high in June 2019).
  • Keep your data ordering intuitive such as ordering by value, time period, or alphabetically.

Tip #3 - Create for context.

We should always anticipate, any presentation we create, can and will be passed along for others to consume, without the benefit of our verbal narrative. So, it’s important that your data visualizations have enough context so the impact can be understood with or without verbal support. 

What do we mean by context? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Is this good or bad? What would you expect? This is definitely a frequently asked question from marketers as we are evaluating campaign or channel performance. One of the most important contextual markers you can add to a performance slide is a benchmark from previous data or third-party industry data. 
  • Why? Data visualization can help us understand the current situation, but they can also help us answer the “why” behind a data set. Context in this situation can reveal hidden insights, which can really change the minds of our audience. For example, let’s say you are charting MQLs over time, now plot that against another variables which may drive fluctuations in MQLs, like website traffic, paid investment or frequency of events. This might help you determine whether overall web traffic is irrelevant, but paid investments are critical.
  • What should we do next? Now that we understand the context for our data and what is driving it, the next question is what should we do next? Always include next steps related to your data visualization. 

Side by Side Bar Graph

Finally, looking at the same data as in our previous visualizations. This example dives into July 2018, with the added context of 2017. In this graph, we can easily see a spike in social caused our July 2018 increase. Now, we can add a call out to shout out to testing a paid social campaign or a contest that was running at that time. 

Tip #4: Be careful not to mislead your audience.

Data can be really powerful, if used wisely. But if we don’t understand or interpret it properly, it can also drive bad decision making.

So as a presenter, definitely do these things to keep your data representation free of misleading information:

  • Start your key at zero (and keep it consistent): It can be tempting to make that 3% increase look like 50%, but don’t change your scale unless it’s really pertinent to the data set, and then call it out. 
  • Understand your data: If you (or your team) is pulling data from a tool like Google Analytics or Hubspot, be sure you understand the nuance or context of your data points (e.g. what’s included in that site conversion rate, how you’re categorizing a new user, what is the criteria for SQL versus MQL.)
  • Include context: Be careful not to omit the context or drivers of the data set you’re aware of, even if they don't necessarily fit your narrative. For example, if you had a great Q3 for leads, but the first half of the year was down, don’t omit that context, just to make Q3 appear better. That context will probably change your tactical mix, investment levels, and next steps. 

Show Don’t Tell

To be really effective marketers, we must review and analyze data in order to make our own decisions about a tweak in tactics or a strategy overhaul. Our ability to illustrate to our colleagues, bosses, and customers how data insights inform our decisions ultimately impacts our ability to move forward with our plans. 

So practice! Find that colleague who can review your latest graph and see what their first takeaway is. Do your presentation with a smaller group before you bring to your boss. See what they respond well to or question, and edit accordingly. 

Data is power. Data visualization is powerful.

[bctt tweet="Data is power. Data visualization is powerful. @Alexis5484 #datavisualization #marketing" username="toprank"]

Many marketers aren’t using the data they have to its full potential. Set yourself on a path to better data and analytics utilization with these tips for overcoming common barriers.

The post How to Power Marketing Presentations With Data Visualization & Win Over Your Audience appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Instagram Stories Ads: How to Improve Your Results

Do you advertise on Instagram? Wondering how to get better conversions on your Instagram Stories ads? In this article, you’ll learn how to optimize your Instagram Stories ads placements. How Instagram Stories Ads and Instagram Feed Ads Differ Unlike a static image or video that appears in the Instagram feed, Instagram stories are treated as […]

The post Instagram Stories Ads: How to Improve Your Results appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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New YouTube Revenue Opportunities for Channels

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 YouTube revenue opportunities for channels, learning playlists, and more with special guest, Luria Petrucci of Live Streaming […]

The post New YouTube Revenue Opportunities for Channels appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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Digital Marketing News: Customer Expectation Study, Twitter Updates Lists, LinkedIn Objective-Based Brand Awareness Goals & More

The post Digital Marketing News: Customer Expectation Study, Twitter Updates Lists, LinkedIn Objective-Based Brand Awareness Goals & More appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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Building a Community in a Changing Social Media World

Could your business benefit from a dedicated community? Wondering where you should build your community? To explore why building community and groups is essential for marketers, I interview community-building expert Gina Bianchini. She’s the former CEO and co-founder of Ning. She’s also the founder and CEO of Mighty Networks. Gina explains how a community differs […]

The post Building a Community in a Changing Social Media World appeared first on Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner.

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5 stats brands need to know to engage Irish & UK consumers

There is no denying the power of brand social media. From raising a brand’s global profile to supplementing research and development efforts, social media Read more...

This post 5 stats brands need to know to engage Irish & UK consumers originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Setting Your Sights on 2020: How to Brew a Forward-Thinking Marketing Strategy

The high-pressure marketing budget and strategy planning season seems to kick-off earlier each year. It’s as if your boss is asking you to magically construct the perfect strategic and tactical mix at the right budget for 2020, without having enough of 2019 under your belt to predict the best approach. After all, you don’t know what the future holds, right? 

As they say, hindsight is 20/20. So, why not leverage that to get some 20/20 foresight?

Like you, we at TopRank Marketing don’t have any magical crystal balls or employees with psychic powers. We don’t use witchcraft to brew mystical marketing love potions. And we certainly don’t engage in any sorcery with enchanted mirrors, but we’ve honed our craft over nearly 20 years and we do find plenty of value in reflecting.

Just a mystic or a wizard or an enchantress gathers their crystals, herbs, or sacred artifacts, you too have transcendent tools available to you. Read on to learn how you can cast your spell, summon your marketing spirit, or connect with marketing’s natural elements to create a strategic 2020 marketing plan—without relying on the supernatural.

Research: The Magic Ingredient for Concocting Any Marketing Strategy

As a marketer you don’t know what you don’t know. And, that’s okay. Clairvoyance is not part of the job description. Begin your brew with some thoughtful research.

  • Keep up with the latest trends. Is there a new tactic or strategy you should be testing?
  • Read case studies from other B2B businesses. What’s working for them?
  • Re-research your audience. Are your assumptions correct? What has changed since last year? What hasn’t? 
  • Bonus. Learn like polymath Bill Gates and the likes, by dedicating 5+ hours per week to learning. Polymaths lead in their field by becoming competent in at least three diverse domains and integrating learnings into their current skill set.


Now that you’re tuned up, use your knowledge to spark new ideas, strengthen your plan recommendations, and back up your recommendations with solid rationales.

Data: Unlocking Insight to Season Your Potion

Every wizard, witch, psychic, or gifted mystic has had to spend a great deal of time to unlock the power inside themselves, you too must devote time to understand one of your most powerful tools: data. Anyone can come up with a striking idea, but it takes a special marketer to use data and unlock the insights within. Try this approach to uncover what you need to know to inform your marketing plan:

Gather the Data and Dive In

Leverage your tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console to pull data from all of your tactics in the past year, including campaigns and ongoing programs.  You can also gather audience data and benchmarks from the research you’ve been doing. 

Don’t be afraid to spend a little time diving down rabbit-holes. At this annual reflection point, what better time to dig into an unnoticed trend or insight?

[bctt tweet="Don’t be afraid to spend a little time diving down rabbit-holes. At this annual reflection point, what better time to dig into an unnoticed trend or insight? - @ElizabethW1057 on 2020 #MarketingStrategy" username="toprank"]

Confirm Your Benchmarks

Look across your data to establish benchmarks fit to your brand that will be valuable in informing your decisions. Again, feel free to check out industry benchmarks, but remember your brand is a unique situation. For instance, are you a startup looking to create a demand for a new niche? Or are you an established enterprise looking to increase market share?

Unlock the Insights

Now it’s time to turn that data into something you can use. Look for trends, outliers, big successes and big failures. Each one can teach you something and guide your 2020 plan to be more strategic. 

Here’s a simple example of how you can go from data, to benchmark, to insight, to 2020 tactics:

  1. In your latest campaign, you saw 2,652 sessions to your asset 90-days post-launch.
  2. Across your last 4 campaigns, you’ve averaged 2,002 sessions to your asset 90-days post-launch. 
  3. Nice! Your latest campaign drove 32% higher sessions. But why?
  4. You used email as an additional promotional tactic this time. And, email accounted for 27% of your total sessions.
  5. Let’s use email in all of our campaigns that target this audience, and explore a more robust, ongoing email program.
  6. Bonus: 75% of your influencers amplified your asset, driving 22% of the total campaign traffic. But, did they have enough reach, with the right people, to make it worth it? Were there other benefits of including influencers? To understand the impact of your influencer work better, add researching new measurement techniques to your “to do” list.


Yes, there are many more metrics, variables, and considerations than simply number of visitors or a single promotional tactic, but you can leverage this approach to unlock some actionable insights from your data. Harness the positive vibes you uncover to inform your marketing plan, and bring your findings to the table to back up your recommendations.

Partners: Adding Natural Elements to Bind the Brew

Now, it’s time to combine elements for a comprehensive strategy.

Stay Grounded: The Earth Element

To enable your success, you must stay grounded. It can be easy to go heads down in planning after one quick conversation, but avoid the temptation. There is nothing worse than presenting a complete marketing plan to a room full of confused faces because you missed the core objective or are suggesting using a new tactic that just failed in another business unit.

Chat with your budget stakeholders early and often about:

  • Are we aligned on the objective of my work in relation to the company’s business goals?
  • What are you looking for me to achieve in 2020?
  • Do you have any marketing strategies or tactics in mind that I should be considering? Or avoiding?
  • What does my 2020 budget look like?
  • Are you expecting any cuts? (Budget prioritization tips here)
  • What have senior leadership or other BUs been talking about that I should be aware of?

[bctt tweet="When you go into 2020 planning mode, stay grounded by circling the wagons with stakeholders early and often. @ElizabethW1057 #MarketingStrategy" username="toprank"]

Seek Collaboration: The Water Element

The water element governs relationships, and it changes shape based on whatever vessel contains it. Use the people around you to gather and mold your ideas this planning season. 

The information you gather from your internal teams can be an unmatched input for keyword research. It can also guide your influencer research, inform your tactical mix, or simply spark new ideas or ways of looking at problems.

  • Your customer service team can tell you all the questions customers are asking about your product or service — what drives customers nuts and what they rave about.
  • Your sales team will know every detail about what makes a customer want to buy versus what stands in the way of a sale. They also probably have competitive insights on the marketplace and know who influences their prospects. Just ask them!
  • Your product team probably briefs with you ever so often, but have you talked to them lately? There might be a feature or benefit that you’ve yet to focus on, or not highlighted enough. With the insights you’ve gotten from customer service and sales, you’ll know just what to do with the product info.
  • Though often difficult to get in front of, your senior leadership will have invaluable insights into the company’s direction. Keep up on any content they’re publishing or sharing on social. And, when you get the opportunity to connect, be prepared with thoughtful questions and discussion points.

Get Transformative: Fire Element

Transformation, passion, and action are the domain of the fire element. Your marketing agency should embody this completely. 

Every fruitful client-agency partnership is rooted in a collaborative passion and drive for your success. So, who better to ask for help on your 2020 marketing plan?

Your agency should have its finger on the pulse of the latest marketing strategies, tactics, and measurement techniques. And, it should be a consultative partner, giving you what you need to make the case for your 2020 budget. Tap your agency for anything from an informal brainstorm to proposing new ideas and tactics, and from campaign extension ideas to full collaboration on your entire plan. 

Seek Reflection: Wind Element

The final element is wind or air. Air is sometimes a harsh element. It cuts away the nonsense and gets us right down to the facts. This is where your plan comes together and you begin to shine. 

Collect everything you’ve researched, studied and gathered, and reflect. Wipe away your emotions and what you feel like you should do. Give new ideas space to grow and be molded by your data and what you learned communing with your teams. 

Unleash Your Mystical Marketing Strategy Planning Abilities

You started making your magic marketing potion with research, filled it to the top with data and sprinkled in all of the world’s natural elements. Now, the power is in your hands. 

You’re ready to concoct your 2020 marketing plan. Don’t hesitate to check back in with your team while you brew. Gather their feedback and refine, because collaboration is how the magic happens. 

Would an agency partner be helpful for your 2020 planning? We’d love to help. Get in touch today.

The post Setting Your Sights on 2020: How to Brew a Forward-Thinking Marketing Strategy appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

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What diversity, equity & inclusion looks like at Sprout Social

Values are an important part of any company’s culture. But having clearly stated values is only part of the equation. Values are meaningless unless Read more...

This post What diversity, equity & inclusion looks like at Sprout Social originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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