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2018-01-21T16:14:06.168Z
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2018 Creative Trends – Shutterstock’s data and creative teams analyzed their customers’ billions of searches for images, footage, and music search and download data to discover the biggest year-over-year increases. What are the top trends? Fantasy, New Minimalism, Space, Natural Luxury, and Punchy Pastels among others. – Shutterstock

‘Organic reach on Facebook is dead’: Advertisers expect price hikes after Facebook’s feed purge. If any brands haven’t already shifted their Facebook strategy entirely to paid, then they may have to soon. Facebook is changing its news feed to prioritize what friends and family share, which will reduce the amount of content that users see from brands and publishers. Open up those wallets folks! Digiday

One in three people—2.48 billion—worldwide used a social network in 2017 – Last year, 74.7% of mobile phone internet users worldwide used their device to access social media. Where are they spending their time you ask? In 2017 nearly 594 million people worldwide used Instagram. 62.2% of all social network users (1.54 billion), went on Facebook at least once a month in 2017.  eMarketer

Majority of Consumers Want Brands to Take a Stand on Social and Political Issues, According to New Study – Most consumers want brands to weigh in on social and political issues, according to a new survey by social media management and analytics company Sprout Social entitled “Championing...

While influencer marketing boomed in 2017, it's been on the rise for a full decade. In fact, we first posted about it in 2008 after we attended a session at SES San Jose on social media analysis and tracking. Ten years later and influencer marketing has evolved from a rising trend into a proven marketing strategy, causing more and more B2C and B2B companies to start influencer programs of their own. As influencer marketing has gained steam, it’s earned a more dedicated spot in the digital marketing mix and become more approachable in the eyes of marketers. As our own CEO Lee Odden, a longtime advocate for influencer marketing, regularly says:
Everyone is influential about something.”
But as marketers dive deeper into the influencer marketing waters, they wonder how the tide will change and ultimately force them in a different direction. Having executed influencer marketing programs for both B2B and B2C brands for the past several years, we’ve had a front row seat to the evolution of influencer marketing. To give you a glimpse into...

Ask any digital marketer if they’ve been able to set their strategy on autopilot over the past decade, and I bet you’ll get a laugh or two—as well as an emphatic “No.” If we’ve learned anything it’s that the digital landscape is simply too fast-changing to keep the business as usual mindset.

But while the global rise of the internet, the explosion of social media, and the development of mobile technologies and other digital tools and platforms are undoubtedly “to blame” for the constant state of change we operate in—it’s really the everyday use of these innovations that requires our flexibility and attention.

Simply put, thanks to these modern essentials, our behavior, expectations and attitudes as consumers have changed—and they’ll continue to. The mobility and network access enabled by mobile phones and tablets, coupled with the incredible amount of content now available (thanks content marketers), means consumers now have the majority stake in developing their own customer journey.

In fact, last year comScore reported that users spend an average of 69% of their media time on smartphones—and other research shows that the great majority of people use the internet and mobile technologies to research products before they buy.

But what’s the next stage of evolution in consumer behavior? And...

Infographic: What Marketers Really Think About Artificial Intelligence A new infographic shows 47% of marketers consider artificial intelligence (AI) to be over-hyped. In addition, 43% of marketers believe vendors overpromise and underdeliver when it comes to AI. AdWeek Can Autonomous Stores Catch On? Brick-and-mortar stores are testing out an automation model, functionally converting their stores to vending machines. These may increase convenience and service levels for some customers, but many remain doubtful that this will take off in a big way. MarTech Today Google Search Console Adds 16 Months of Data Can I get a heck yes?! Google has confirmed that Google Search Console will now be able to show 16 months of data versus the typical 90 days. This is currently available in their beta version for some users, with a larger rollout pending. The SEM Post The State of Video Marketing: Distribution, Topic, and Budget Trends Marketers are saying that social media brings them the highest ROI for digital video distribution, followed by email. In addition, 50% of respondents are transferring budgets from traditional media budgets to finance digital video and 37% are reallocating budgets from digital media. MarketingProfs Hulu Hits $1 Billion Ad Milestone In 2017, Hulu hit a record for video advertising revenue at $1 billion. They also saw a 40% rise in...

As a 21st century marketer, you already know that data is an important player in the content marketing game. Data helps us understand who our audience is, what they care about, and how our content impacts their decisions. It helps us connect all the dots — and continue to find new dots as attitudes, needs, and preferences change. But is your content marketing strategy taking advantage of all of the data you have at your disposal? Or is some data left on the cutting room floor? As TopRank Marketing’s own Lee Odden recently wrote on the topic of data-informed content marketing:
“When it comes to content, creators are traditionally more art than science, and using data to guide editorial planning is still not an advanced skill for many companies.”
Not too long ago, Forrester reported that companies only use 12% of the data they have at their disposal. The remaining 88% of data is wasted and left unused. But imagine how much more effective your content marketing efforts would be if you upped that percentage even a few points — let alone to 100%. With that said, we want to help...

Do you remember upgrading from an old square TV to a high-definition model? It was an amazing leap forward in the viewing experience.

Then came 3D televisions…and no one really cared. Then even bigger screens, then curved displays, OLED, smart TVs, 3D and 4k. None of these advances have really fired up the imagination of the TV-buying public. These incremental improvements just aren’t compelling enough to inspire me to upgrade.

The same thing happened with smartphones. The iPhone’s touchscreen-only design was revolutionary, and now every modern phone is a sleek rectangle. Since then, it’s been incremental change and vanity features. I can unlock this phone with my face instead of my fingerprint? And I can turn into an animated dancing unicorn? Yawn.

Content marketing had its watershed moment a decade ago, marking a monumental shift in the way marketing works. Hard selling and SEO trickery gave way to relationship-building and bringing real value to customers. Since then, we’ve been refining the formula. We’ve added new gimmicks and made small adjustments. But marketers are long overdue for a new paradigm shift.

When you’re watching content marketing trends for this year, look deeper than the marketing equivalent of 4k and curved displays. Look for the quiet revolution that is starting to take hold—look for the fundamental changes in the way we approach content.

Here are my picks for the next major movements in content marketing.

#1 – Long-Form...

How to Keep Up With the Rise of the Visual Internet [Infographic] Online media is increasingly visual — from personal photos to branded motion graphics, gif and videos. How can you keep up with the rising need for visual content? This infographic shares tips to help you stay on top of the trend and keep your viewers engaged. MarketingProfs 10 Million People Used Facebook Live on New Year’s Eve It probably won’t come as a shock that, for most, the tradition of cozying up around an antennaed TV to watch the ball drop on NYE is behind us. Because in front of us — right in front of our faces — is Facebook Live. Ringing in 2018, Facebook Live topped their activity from the previous year’s NYE festivities, with people sharing 47% more live videos than last year.  Facebook Media Google’s Rich Results Tool Allows for Testing of Structured Data Google has a way of defining things (“Conversions” for instance) and now, they’ve defined Rich Results. “Rich Results” has been coined as a phrase to refer to rich snippets, rich cards and other “rich” additions to a website’s content. And Google’s new tool will test for all types of structured data that can be shown as rich results, pulling from sources including JSON-LD, Microdata and RDFa. The tool currently works for...

These days, there’s little doubt that social media is plays a pivotal role in a brand’s marketing strategy. After all, with roughly 2 billion internet users on social networks and counting, there’s massive reach and resonance potential.

But couple widespread adoption with shifting consumer preferences and expectations—and the smell of major change is in the air. Social media is no longer just a marketing tool and a space to encourage positive engagement with your audience, it’s a customer service opportunity that deserves every marketer’s attention and action.

As Dan Gingiss, McDonald’s Corporation’s Senior Director of Global Social Media, told me in his Behind the Curtain interview a few months back: marketers need to stop thinking that customer service is someone else’s problem:

“When we interrupt people’s social media feeds with marketing messages, we hope that they will engage with our fun and interesting marketing content. But sometimes, all we do is remind them that they had some other problem with our brand. Since social media is the first and only channel where customers can talk back, marketers need to listen and engage.”

Twitter presents one of the most unique and challenging social care opportunities. It’s real-time, fast-paced environment seems to be a...

This year demonstrated an explosion of interest in influencer marketing bringing with it a sharp increase in attention as well as implementation successes and failures.

The mixed bag of advice for any shiny new object of marketing attention like working with influencers brings uncertainties, especially with rapid innovation, increased competition and self serving “influencer marketing experts” popping up on every digital corner.

As long time influencer content marketing practitioners, my team at TopRank Marketing has to anticipate the key questions marketers have around influencer marketing. Not only do we understand the questions, but we have delivered many of the answers in over 40 posts on the topic including B2B influencer marketing strategy, technology, influencer research and recruiting, influencer content collaboration, integration with SEO and social, influencer content promotion and performance measurement.

Working with influencers on content collaboration is something we do every day and not just for clients, but for ourselves. As a result, designing influencer content collaboration programs has become central to our B2B marketing solutions, right along with SEO, online advertising and CRO.

A BIG thanks to Ashley Zeckman, Josh Nite and Caitlin Burgess for their work on advocating best practices through their blog posts on this relatively new field for the B2B marketing industry.

Through actual experience, experiments and research, our team has advanced our approach to influencer marketing strategy, process, use of technology, measurement and best practices significantly...

Social Commerce Takes Hold. A study by PwC reports that 78% of consumers are influenced by social media when shopping online. According to Marketing Week, the “social commerce boom” is being fueled by young mobile consumers. Thirty-three percent of 18- to 24-year-olds say they would purchase items directly on Facebook, 27% on Instagram and 20% on Twitter. For 25- to 34-year-olds, the numbers decrease a bit: 30% on Facebook. For 54- to 65-years-olds, it’s 10%. MediaPost

Top 100 Social Media Trends for 2018. From Influencer Campaigns to Social Media-Friendly Designs to social media inspired dog toys, these are 100 social media trends for next year. Or are they? IRL social media filters? TrendHunter

Snapchat Looking to Publish Content on Third-Party Websites With ‘Stories Everywhere’. The word from Cheddar is that Snap is developing a new program dubbed Stories Everywhere that will allow third-party publishers to embed Snapchat content on their websites. Let’s just hope it’s not too little, too late.  Variety

The Price Of Mobile Ads Will Surge More Than 45% In 2018. Mobile programmatic pricing is about to have its hockey stick moment, set to grow more than 45% by 2019, according to a projection released by programmatic agency Goodway Group. Ad Exchanger

Data Shows Tablets Driving Highest Click-Through Rates. A new report reveals that tablet impressions drove 1.13% click-through rates...

Over the past 14 years this marketing blog has had numerous contributors, thousands of posts, hundreds of thousands of social shares and millions of views. To say blogging has had a positive impact on our business would be a gross understatement.

December 28 is our blog birthday and what started simply as an experimental way to share resources and develop writing skills has turned into one of our most effective recruiting, marketing and community engagement tools. That success is thanks to a team effort including Ashley Zeckman with 360 career posts, who has served as blog editor over the past 2 years, Josh Nite with 113 career posts, Caitlin Burgess with 106 career posts, Tiffani Allen with 90 career posts and our newcomers Anne Leuman, Nick Nelson and Elizabeth Williams.

Caitlin and Josh in particular have been the backbone of our great content week after week!

Additional kudos goes to Josh and Tiffani for shooting fun weekly Friday News roundup videos each and every week of 2017, which you can see at TopRank Marketing TV.

While I’ve authored over 2,500 career posts out of 4,098 total, I didn’t do much blogging in 2017. Our continued success would not have been possible this year without our TopRank Marketing team creating, contributing and helping to promote our blog. Most importantly, it would not have been possible without the support of our community,...

2017 marks the 8th year we’ve published a list featuring “women who rock” in the digital marketing space. I started the list in 2010 with social media specifically and after 5 years handed the reins over to Ashley Zeckman for a few years when the focus has broadened to digital marketing.

In the past I would ask each years’ honorees to nominate someone for the following year and so on. Following that we started ranking the huge list of women in marketing that we had compiled over the years using Traackr’s influencer marketing software.

In 2017 I’m making another change: to ask influential men in the marketing industry to nominate women who are leading in the marketing world.  I thought this was a timely and relevant way to help male leaders in our industry shine a light on their female counterparts, peers, superiors or subordinates.

The response from those who have shared nominations including multiple from Seth Godin has been great. I can’t thank the CEOs, VPs and Entrepreneurs enough who took time during the holidays to share nominees and their reasons why.

Interestingly, less than a third of the men I reached out to replied at all. In previous years when I have reached out to women, more than 75% would respond. I don’t know whether the holidays affected responses, but I didn’t get many “out of office” emails, so maybe it...


Content makes the Marketing world go ‘round, especially with our work here at TopRank Marketing. While content has been a steady drumbeat in the marketing mix over the past 7-8 years, marketers are still hungry for best practices, examples and the latest trends.

Lucky for our readers, we have excellent content marketers contributing to our blog including Ashley Zeckman, Josh Nite, Caitlin Burgess and one of our new content team members this year who has made quite a splash: Anne Leuman.

As a body of work, this collection of our top 10 content marketing posts represents an incredibly useful resource, full of practical examples and relevant topics for CMOs to copywriters. As you put finishing touches on your 2018 content marketing planning, I hope these posts prove useful.

I’m going to take the most popular content marketing post with 5,500+ social shares (50 Influential Women in Content Marketing 2017) out of the list below because it’s not an article per se. You may still find it useful though, as it recognizes 50 talented professionals in the content marketing world ranging from Ann Handley to Amanda Todorovich to Amisha Gandhi and many more. Now, on to the top 10:


What CMOs Need to Know About Data Informed Content Marketing – Lee Odden
39% of marketers are increasing spending...


It’s that time of year again, where here in Minnesota the snow is falling, the temperatures are dropping and hearts are warming with thankfulness and appreciation.

2017 has been a year of change, evolution and innovation for the digital marketing industry and at TopRank Marketing, we are incredibly grateful for the attention and trust that our community and clients and have put into our mutual success.

Few people ever reach a fraction of their true potential and we are dedicated to continue supporting and growing an environment where each of our clients, agency team and community can realize their true potential as marketers. As we evolve as marketing professionals, TopRank Marketing is also focused on helping the marketing industry community find clarity, confidence and purpose in the growing complexity of modern business.

There’s something magical about the holidays, but there’s no magic solution for actualizing as professionals. It takes hard work, smart work, flexibility, patience, determination, passion and most of all, teamwork. We are happy to be on that journey with our community!

At TopRank Marketing I am proud to say that we have an incredible team of smart, creative and results focused professional marketers (who also have a great sense of humor!).

Along with an incredible portfolio of new clients, we’ve added 15 new team members in 2017 including designers, content strategists, search marketers, social media and influencer marketers,...

The 10 Most Watched Ads on YouTube in 2017 – This impressive collection of work includes two video ads that exceeded 100 million views. Which was your favorite? Natalie Portman for Miss Dior or Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson” for Apple?  AdWeek

B2B Tech Buyers More Motivated by Reliability & Ease of Use Claims Than Price. A study by Lavidge of 400 B2B decision makers in the US reports that technology buyers prefer reliability (64) over low cost (49%) when justifying purchasing decisions. MarketingCharts

The 2018 Hiring Outlook for Marketing and Advertising Jobs. 46% of marketing and advertising executives say it is somewhat challenging to find skilled workers today; 7% say it is very challenging – MarketingProfs

New IRI Report Details Value of Contextually Relevant Advertising. Marketers who instead mix in relevant context strategies can bolster sales lift and further increase return on investment (ROI) by up to 30%. Morningstar

The Advertising Media That Consumers Trust Most. Research from Clutch reports 61% of respondents trust TV/broadcast video; 58% trust print; 45%, radio/podcast; 42%, out-of-home/billboards; 41%, online; and 38%, social media. MarketingProfs

How Twitter Celebrated The Last Jedi in Style With Real-Time Billboards. Disney teamed up with Twitter to plaster fan tweets across giant billboards in real time. AdWeek

Google...


I love how Tom Fishburne aka marketoonist always does a great job of showcasing marketing truths. While the focus for marketers to deliver the right message to the right audience at the right time is nothing new, it’s also safe to say that we have a lot of work to do.

For example, I was recently in the position of having to look for a new external battery charger. I seem to burn through these things like candy. A search on Google gave me relevant ads right on top. I clicked on a Best Buy ad and checked out the RAZORMAX Portable Power Bank.

It looked interesting enough and while I noticed reviews from the Best Buy site, I’m the kind of person that likes validation from 3rd party review sites. So I went back to search and looked for reviews.

I arrived on Tom’s Guide and what ad from Best Buy dominated the page reviewing the best portable chargers?

The secret to juggling is to always have one of your chainsaws in the air. Simple, right? You have one more chainsaw than you have hands, so don’t try and hold all three at the same time. Simply, always be throwing and catching at least one.

Ready to rev up your chainsaws and try it? Raise your hand… if you have one left.

As anyone in the industry knows, content marketing is a lot like juggling chainsaws. It’s easy, we’re told: You just have to consistently produce high-quality, engaging content. But if it were that easy, everyone would already be good at it. Statistics show we’re not there yet: 54% of B2B marketers say producing engaging content is their top challenge, and 50% say producing content consistently is.

Fortunately, just as you can learn to juggle chainsaws with practice and instruction (please don’t try this at home), you can learn to deliver quality, engaging content with a regular cadence. As you master the process, it will get easier. Eventually it will seem effortless to your audience. It might even feel (mostly) effortless to your content team.

Here’s how the team at TopRank Marketing keeps our chainsaws in the air.

#1: Consistency

A steady content cadence is invaluable for building your audience and serving your existing readership. The goal is to make your blog (or content hub) a habit – a reliable resource for fresh content. Setting...

With 2018 on the horizon, we’re all in a state of reflection, looking back on all the good, the bad and the ugly 2017 brought us. When it comes to social media, it’s hard not to think about the latter two. With all the political turmoil and uptick in trolling, even Facebook recently admitted that its digging deep to turn the tide and bring well-being principles into the social experience.

But while there’s little doubt that 2017 surfaced new concerns and challenges in the social media space, there were some positive developments for everyday users and marketers alike. In this piece, we highlight some of those interesting and encouraging changes that occurred across platforms.

While this is certainly not a complete list, we think these are some changes that can be celebrated by marketers—as well as leveraged in 2018 and beyond.

#1 – Facebook continues its push to help users and brands tell Stories.

While Snapchat came on the scene in 2013, the platform began gaining major ground in 2016 as a formidable contender within the social media space, drawing younger audiences and causing Facebook to sit up, take notice and form an action plan.

While Snapchat’s main interface is totally unique, the one thing that could be cloned is its Stories feature—something...

How can you confidently pour your heart and soul into a non-traditional marketing strategy, knowing it could either take flight or fizzle?

It’s a dilemma that outside-the-box marketers must wrestle with if they truly wish to innovate and transform their industry. The idea of experimenting with methods that haven’t been substantiated through successful practice is both exhilarating and terrifying.

When facing tight budgets, client expectations, and ROI demands, fear of failure often wins out. But to quote Seth Godin: “In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”

The marketplace is now busier and more crowded than ever, so perhaps what we should really be afraid of is following the same established blueprint as everyone else.

“What Is He Doing?”

A while back, I came across a thought-provoking blog post from Ken Tremendous (that’s the online pseudonym for Michael Schur, writer for such TV comedies as The Office and Parks & Rec). One of the topics he covered was the process Lin-Manuel Miranda went through while creating his eventual Broadway hit, Hamilton: An American Musical.

Miranda spent many years writing this hip-hop history lesson, despite having no clue whether there was actually an appetite for such an unconventional piece of theatre. Schur summarized the...


How Predictive Analytics Can Help Your Business See the Future. Now more than ever, predictive analytics are becoming available to small businesses looking to get ahead of the competition by mining their data and generating meaningful intelligence. From mapping customer purchase trends to optimizing product campaigns, predictive analytics can be the digital marketing solution your company needs. An investment in predictive analytics may give your business the competitive advantage it needs, helping you leave yesterday’s problems behind and focus on growth to come. Entrepreneur

These Emotions Are Said to Have the Greatest Influence on Brand Loyalty. Research from Capgemini’s, which correlated emotions and stated loyalty towards brands, has revealed that the three most important emotions are: Honesty; Trust; and Integrity. People also associate the emotions of “belonging,” “security,” and “familiarity” with loyalty. MarketingCharts

New Google Best Answer Carousel In Search Results Snippets. I have to say, I think this is a great idea! #BetheBestAnswer Google is testing the display of  a carousel of answers, with the “best answer” labeled first as such, allowing the searcher to swipe or click through the answers directly in the search results. Search Engine Roundtable

Accenture Puts A Number On Consumer Distrust: $756B. 49% of customers are concerned about privacy, yet subscribe to intelligent services designed to anticipate their needs, according to research from Accenture. Poor personalization and lack of...