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2018-04-26T07:45:59.163Z
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It’s been a spectacular decade to be a nerd. The superheroes we love leaped from the page to the multiplex, each movie connected to the rest with the kind of complex storytelling we love in comic books. It started with Iron Man in 2008. This weekend, "Avengers: Infinity War" hits theaters, with over two dozen heroes throwing down against a celestial being with godlike powers (who, for some reason, has a chin that looks like a raisin). [caption id="attachment_24138" align="aligncenter" width="232"] The California Raisins reboot looks really dark.[/caption] I’m pretty stoked. Team-up events like this are great because a superhero team is always more powerful than the sum of its parts. They can use their powers to complement each other in unexpected ways:
  • Spider-Man uses webbing to make a slingshot for Captain America’s shield
  • Thor throws his hammer through portals that Doctor Strange makes
  • The Hulk throws Hawkeye to safety
You get the idea. When a team is really working together, all of them do better. Which, of course, makes me think all about content marketing. At TopRank Marketing, we believe the present and future of reaching an audience depends on confluence, a superhero team-up of all our content marketing tactics and channels working together. Here’s a quick guide to the members...

Liking where you work is not an optional luxury. At least it sure shouldn't be. Spending 40 hours of every week at a place you dread is a tough way to go through any stretch of life. I've been there and I'm sure many of you have as well — especially if you work in digital marketing, which can often be a fast-paced, demanding, and stressful field. So last year, when I decided to pursue a new professional venture, finding the right culture fit was a huge priority for me. As I started exploring the possibility of joining the TopRank Marketing team, I had some reservations; not because of anything specific to the company, but because it’s an agency. I hadn't work at agencies much in the past. I was familiar with the stereotypes, the paradigms, the lamentations. While confident in my skill set being very applicable in this world, I couldn't help but wonder if it was the right world for me. Would the constant reality of client demands stifle my creativity? Would the permeating structure of workflow management systems prove suffocating? Would I be intimidated as a newbie working alongside people who've been in such a setting forever? Well,...

Snapchat Remains Teens’ Favorite Social Platform, Instagram Their Top Marketing Channel
Snapchat has remained the top social platform among teens, who also see Instagram as the best way for brands to communication with them, according to Piper Jaffray’s latest semi-annual “Talking Stock with Teens” survey. MarketingCharts

LinkedIn Teamed Up With Tenor to Add GIFs to Its Messaging
A feature allowing the use of animated GIF images has begun rolling out to LinkedIn users, the latest in a series of changes to add more fun to the business-oriented social platform. AdWeek

Google, Others Cut Into Facebook Share Of Consumer Time
Google’s properties including YouTube have grown more popular among U.S. adults than Facebook, with both taking up a greater share of consumer time than the properties of Verizon, Amazon, Snapchat, and Twitter, according to recently-released January 2018 Nielsen ratings data. MediaPost

Native Advertising Growth Projected to Slow
Native advertising spending growth among U.S. marketers will continue at a slower rate, less than half of the 64 percent figure seen in 2016, according to new eMarketer report data on the ads, which imitate the look of surrounding content. Wall Street Journal

Only 3% Of Marketers Deem MRC Video ‘Viewability” A Reasonable Standard
Just three percent of brand marketers see...

It’s probably not news to you that 91% of B2B brands use content marketing to attract, engage, nurture, and convert their audience. However, it might be surprising to learn that only 9% of those brands rate their content marketing as “sophisticated.” Sophisticated meaning that their content marketing is successful, scales across the organization, and provides accurate measurement to the business. This puts a lot of pressure on content marketers to elevate their game and provide more worthwhile and valuable content experiences. As an adept Dungeon Master (DM) of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) games, TopRank Marketing’s Motion Graphic Designer, Patrick Pineda, can relate. It might sound a little odd at first, but Dungeon Masters and content marketers are more alike than you think. Responsible for creating meaningful and memorable experiences through content that takes people on a journey, you can see the similarities arise. Just like content marketers need to help guide people through the buyer journey, the Dungeon Master needs to guide players through a journey of their own. After serving his friends as the go-to Dungeon Master, Patrick has learned a thing or...

Whether you’re a new Marketing leader at a company in need of establishing wins quickly or part of a growing organization with ambitious revenue goals, the challenges within marketing today are greater than ever.

To help make sense out of these challenges, I’ve listed 6 of the top obstacles to brands achieving effectiveness out of their marketing and how collaborating with influencers on content help solve each problem.

1. Challenge: Ad Blocking. 600 million devices using ad blocking, leading to a loss of $22 billion in ad revenue (PageFair). If buyers don’t ever see your ads, what chance do you have?

Challenge solved: Contrary to ads, influencers are liked and because people pay attention to the influencers they follow, shared brand messages are far more likely to attract and engage buyers.

When you subscribe to the idea that everyone is influential about something, especially with their friends, co-workers and social connections, this statistic from Nielsen (83% of consumers trust recommendations from their peers over advertising) becomes very powerful.

Collaborating with influencers on content that the influencers then promote to their subscribing community can become a powerful differentiator for any marketing program.

Of course not all customers use ad blocking and there are incredible opportunities to be realized with sophisticated ad targeting. That’s why when properly executed, influencer content can be leveraged for both organic and paid promotions.

2. Challenge: Information Overload. Consider...

Influencer Marketing Has Hit Cryptoworld
The proliferation of cryptocurrencies over the past several years has led to a sharp recent increase in the number of paid influencers hired to help promote and legitimize both small and large players in the cryptoworld. Digiday

Google launches Reach Planner for YouTube & video ad forecasting in AdWords
Google is offering a more powerful video campaign reach estimate tool called Reach Planner, aimed at YouTube and Google Display Network advertisers, and featuring reach data to help find the best video product mixes. Marketing Land

80% Lose Trust in Local Businesses if Online Information is Incorrect
Businesses that have incorrect or inconsistent information online lose trust among 80 percent of consumers, while even out-of-date or poor quality photos cause 50 percent of consumers to have diminished trust, according to a recent report. Small Business Trends

Google Switches to Infinite Scrolling Mobile Search Results
Mobile Google search users will see infinitely-scrolling SERP entries in a test the Internet giant recently began rolling out, replacing multi-page results with a seemingly endless number of clickable “more results” offerings. Search Engine Journal

Facebook Discusses How Feed Algorithm Works
Facebook’s news-feed program leader has outlined portions of the company’s latest algorithm for determining what is shown, including a patented...

Keywords, content and links. This is the currency of the Search Engine Optimization world and the rules for spending that currency seem to be in a constant state of flux.

At TopRank Marketing, we take a conservative approach to attracting links through purely organic means. Our focus is on creating content that’s actually worth being linked to with an emphasis on customer engagement and share optimization over pure SEO value.

The irony of this approach is that while we don’t “build links” directly for SEO, the attraction based approach we take typically results in links that are very high value and sustainable that many overt link building tactics.

In this session at Pubcon Florida, Ann Smarty @seosmarty from Internet Marketing Ninjas broke her multi-year silence on link building to share her current insights on the topic of link building through relationships.

To understand link building for SEO, you must first understand what NOT to do.

One important lesson is not to scale link building. Scale risks not being useful to consumers and Google responds to that with penalties.

Early on, Ann recognized the value of guest blogging and started a community. In 2012 Matt Cutts from Google shared that guest posts were ok as long as bloggers simply didn’t duplicate the same post over and over.

However, once SEOs recognized the value of link building, they exploited it. In 2014...

This session on influencer marketing and SEO is the first up for me on day one of Pubcon Florida, which has grown from a one day to a two day event. It’s easy to see why: The speaker line up is chock full of current smart search marketing advice from a great collection of expert practitioners.

With moderation duties handled by Susan Wenograd @SusanEDub the speakers for this session included the dynamic duo of:
Marcela De Vivo @marceladevivo from SEMRush
Dixon Jones @Dixon_Jones from Majestic

First up is birthday woman Marcela De Vivo. Happy Birthday Marcela!

Influencer Marketing is hot right now for a variety of reasons: consumers increased use of ad blocking, increased competition and working with the right influencers can make your marketing more effective, especially with SEO.

But working with influencers and getting them to pay attention to your brand can be hard.

There are many examples of big brands leveraging influencer marketing including Pedigree, Hulu and Bob’s Red Mill. But there are also small brands like YogaClub that have had great results too. “Working with influencers revolutionized our brand.”

Impressions are nice, but how do you get influencers to truly impact your ROI?

One of the best ways to get ROI out of influencer marketing is to bring it into your SEO strategy.

To do that, understanding the top SEO ranking...

Social media marketers, how are you feeling? Take a minute to breathe if you need to. The last few months have been a wild ride. Fatigue, vertigo, and even a little nausea are perfectly understandable. As I said before, social media isn’t dying, but it is changing. Marketers are used to quick changes, naturally, but it’s important to be sure we’re making the right changes. We should approach evolving our social media with the same data-driven, strategic rigor that applies to everything else we do. The good folks at Rival IQ recently published their 2018 Social Media Benchmarking Report. The data points to some clear directions for the next evolution of social media marketing. Here are some of the key data points – and, more importantly, what you should do about them. #1 - Influencers Have the Highest Engagement Rate on Facebook The report breaks down engagement by platform and by vertical, which invites some intriguing comparisons. If you’re in the food & beverage industry, congratulations! You’re likely seeing some of the highest engagement. If you’re not, however, there’s no need to roll out a new Cloud-Based SaaS brand of soft drink. Influencers are also hitting the top engagement rate (a whopping .24%, but more...

We marketing writers spend a lot of time crafting a piece of content. In fact, according to Orbit Media’s most recent blogger survey, most writers spend about three and half hours crafting one blog post—which is a one-hour jump from its first report in 2014, highlighting to me the focus on quality over quantity of output. But let’s be honest, regardless of how long we spend on a piece of content, we have our priorities in terms of how we spend that time. The title, while just a few words, is how we grab audience attention or entice the click. The introduction is how we hook the readers. And, of course, the body is at the heart of it all where we make good on everything we’ve promised in the headline and introduction. But when it comes to tying it all up with a solid conclusion, I’d argue that many of us aren’t giving that component the thought and care it deserves. In today’s crowded content landscape and increasing numbness to marketing messages, we can’t afford to leave any opportunity for engagement, connection, and conversions on the table. So for me, conclusions shouldn’t be an afterthought, but rather an...

Brands Fail to Meet the ANA’s Diversity Goals, Too
Progress has been strong in CMO gender balance while ethnic diversity continues to face significant shortfalls, according to new research from the Association of National Advertisers and its inaugural CMO scorecard. While 45 percent of top marketer positions examined in the ANA member data were female, only 13 percent were people of color. AdWeek

Instagram Makes Stories Advertising Easier with Automatic Full-screen Support
Instagram advertisers can now have square or landscape ad photos or videos automatically reformatted for full-screen utilization, one of several new features the firm recently announced as part of an effort to improve Instagram Stories. Marketing Land

YouTube Launches Reach-Based Pricing for User-Skippable Ads
YouTube advertisers can buy spots skippable after five seconds with prices based on a CPM basis, the firm has announced. With TruView for Reach, YouTube now offers an ad option aside from its in-stream non-skippable “bumper” ads and its traditional TrueView ads. Variety

Goo.gl Shutting Down – These are Your Options
Google’s popular URL shortener goo.gl is being phased out over the next year, with the Internet giant supporting a move to the newer take on short and persistent links that is offered with Firebase Dynamic Links (FDL). Existing goo.gl links will continue to function, however, Google has...

Modern marketers understand that quality, engaging and relevant content is at the core of any integrated digital marketing strategy. After all, in a world where consumers are increasingly self-directed in researching their options to make purchasing decisions, that quality, engaging and relevant content aids their journey and decision-making. But let’s face it. While marketers want to inform and engage their audience, they ultimately want to generate viable leads to meet their goals and grow their respective businesses. Oftentimes, that means deciding when, where and how to gate certain content assets. In fact, perhaps one of the most common questions we get from our book of clients is: “Should I gate my content?” The answer? It depends. It depends on your objectives. It depends on your brand or product’s maturity in the marketplace. It depends on your content ecosystem. It depends on the “content of the content.” And it depends on your lead nurturing capabilities. As a result, strategic decision-making is crucial, otherwise your content may never see the light of day. With that said, there are several situations where we believe gated content should be left off the table. #1 -  When you’re...

The first search engine was created in 1990, over two millennia from when Aristotle, the famed Greek philosopher, walked the earth. Having never lived in a world that included a search engine, let alone paper, you might be wondering what advice Aristotle could possibly offer when it comes to search marketing, but one of his most famous quotes offers an invaluable lesson:
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” 
Even in ~330 BC, Aristotle understood that combining two tactics together results in powerful outcomes that are greater than their individual parts. Adopting this classic teaching to your modern paid search and SEO tactics, means getting more bang for your buck in search marketing. For starters, integrating paid and organic search has been found to increase conversions by 200%, according to Search Engine Watch. If you want to maximize your potential return on your search marketing efforts, they need to work together. At TopRank Marketing, we believe integration makes the digital marketing world go round, bringing balance and harmony to your digital marketing efforts. To help you weave your paid search and SEO

Google AdWords Releases New Keyword Planner Tool
An updated and more feature-rich Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool has been released, including a newly-designed forecasts area showing a unified overview and the ability to add multiple keywords in bulk, all now available to anyone with access to the latest iteration of the AdWords experience. Search Engine Journal

Forecast: Digital Advertising Pulling Away From TV on Global Basis
New research from Zenith forecasts big gains for global digital ad revenue, increasing a lead built last year and pointing towards a 44.6 percent share of total ad revenue by 2020. With the U.S. and China leading the 2017 through 2020 adspend growth forecast, mobile will be the biggest contributing medium. Marketing Land

Users Worry About Facebook Data: Plan To Use Less, Stop Altogether
Facebook users have said they’ll cut their time on the site or, in some cases, leave entirely, according to new survey data from Raymond James. 44 percent of respondents were “very concerned” about Facebook’s use of their data, while 40 percent said that they were “somewhat concerned,” with 8 percent planning to stop signing in completely. MediaPost

EU Antitrust Chief Keeps Open Threat to Break Up Google: Report
As it drafts transparency regulations for technology firms, the European Union hasn’t ruled out splitting Google into smaller companies,...

Time moves faster on the internet. Last month’s memes are about as relevant as a 1920s vaudeville show. Even a bona fide viral phenomenon from just a few years ago seems quaint and dated. Twitter and Facebook are only 12 and 14 years old, respectively. But they’re aging at internet speed. And right now they’re having a midlife crisis. Instead of buying a sports car and taking up craft brewing, though, that crisis is manifesting as existential dread and intense soul-searching. The people who run the platforms are publicly examining their purpose and societal impact. More importantly, the people who use the platforms are asking tough questions:
What am I getting out of my time spent here? Who is this platform structured to benefit? Should I be trusting my data with this platform? Is this a positive or negative thing I have let into my life?
As marketers, we have to ask ourselves the same questions. And we should add one more: Is our social media marketing valuable to our audience? If we’re not adding value, we’re adding to the problem. Social media is in crisis right now. But that doesn’t mean marketers should abandon ship. It means we have to do our own soul-searching. We need to take our social media accounts off of autopilot and approach them mindfully. Here’s what marketers should consider...

Regardless of industry or niche, nearly all B2B marketers—91% to be exact—are focused on leveraging content marketing to reach, resonate and inspire audience action. But budget and resource constraints and lofty lead generation goals—not to mention increasing buyer numbness to marketing messages and the extinction of organic visibility on social media—means you have to get scrappy when designing a content marketing strategy that drives toward business goals. Oftentimes, this leads brands and marketers to focus on content marketing campaigns to quickly generate buzz, spike awareness and foster audience engagement. However, in our experience, campaigns alone will not help you reach your short- and long-term marketing goals. Why? They’re simply not sustainable. Campaigns create spikes in activity that can quickly die out if there’s not a significant investment in ongoing promotion—specifically paid promotion. But does that mean it’s time to drop campaigns from your marketing mix? Absolutely not. Quite the opposite, actually. Campaigns should be intertwined with an overall, always-on strategy to create marketing harmony and get the ultimate value out of all your efforts. Below I highlight a few reasons why. #1...

Roughly One in Four Americans is Online ‘Constantly’
More than a quarter of U.S. adults consider themselves online “almost constantly” according to survey data recently released by the Pew Research Center, a figure that jumps to nearly 39 percent for younger people in the 18-to-29-year-old age group, and Kurt Wagner looks closely at some of the survey’s fascinating statistics. Recode

Facebook Introduces ‘Store Sales Optimization’ and Other Ad Improvements for Retailers
Facebook has added three new options for retailers, announcing its expanded store sales optimization, tabs for Canvas, and product categories for dynamic ads, all aimed at improving mobile and offline conversions. Greg Sterling takes a look at some of the details. Marketing Land

Twitter to Prohibit Range of Cryptocurrency Ads
Sky News reports that Twitter has plans to eventually ban advertisements for cryptocurrencies, token sales, and initial coin offerings (ICOs), in a move that would follow similar policies implemented by both Facebook and Google this year. Sky News

Data Suggests Surprising Shift: Duopoly Not All-Powerful – Amazon and Snapchat Are Experiencing Faster Growth
Amazon and Snapchat are among the firms making faster-than-expected gains into Facebook and Google’s substantial shares of digital ad spending, according to new data. eMarketer

An AI-Driven Big Data Catalog Will...

The expression, “Marketers are data rich and insight poor” is more true today than ever.

Marketers all over the world are working to optimize marketing operations and effectiveness using their abundance of data. Many are turning to tools and platforms powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI promises to make sense of all the dark data companies are sitting on as well as structured and unstructured data online to surface insights about customer behaviors, opportunistic content and emotional triggers to inspire conversions.

In an age of too many choices, increased competition for customer attention requires every advantage to optimize for reach, engagement and conversion. Marketers are using AI to automate and optimize their marketing because that’s what it will take to meet customer appetite for personalized experiences.

  • In a study by Smart Insights, AI and Machine Learning were rated the #3 marketing activity that will make the largest commercial impact on business in 2018.
  • Another study by Salesforce found that high-performing marketing teams are more than 2 times as likely to use AI in their campaigns than under-performers.

What are marketers doing with AI? Areas of focus include advertising automation and optimization, chat bots for service and assisting in sales, and content personalization to name a few.

Chat apps and bots are increasingly being used beyond light customer service to engage customers during the sales process. In fact, 1.82 billion people worldwide are...

We’ve all read the headlines about the death of organic social media and BuzzSumo’s recent report on the huge drop in social sharing reinforces the news that the free for all days of social media are coming to a close. Add to that the distrust of branded content and advertising and it’s easy to see that marketers need to rethink their approach.

If buyers are not engaging with brand social media and content, then where is their attention?

This is not a new question and the way we’ve been finding the answer is through insights about buyer preferences for solutions content: discovery, consumption and action.

The Customer Information Journey. Buyers pulling themselves through the majority of the research process for finding solutions do so with content. But where do they discover that content? What are their preferences for content types, topics and platforms for consumption? What sources do they trust? Of equal importance is what signals of credibility produce the confidence to inspire action within that content?

Customer Empathy. As B2B marketers are faced with an ever growing list of demands for content and channels, empathy with the customer experience is more important now than ever. What’s also important are the solutions for attracting, engaging and inspiring action that actually work.

Optimized And Influencer Activated Content. At TopRank Marketing we are fortunate to work with an innovative...

Social Networking Platforms’ User Demographics Update 2018 –  The most widely-used social media platform in the US isn’t Facebook. It’s YouTube. This new report from Pew Research explores data from the top social networking platforms for 2018 including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter and WhatsApp. MarketingCharts

Forrester Says Only 15% of B-to-B Marketers Are Fully Compliant With GDPR – According to results of a report released this week by Forrester, only 15 percent of b-to-b marketers are fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), while 18 percent are still wondering what to do. In fact, of the 66 marketing professionals surveyed in January, less than half of marketers had even even assessed all points from which they collect data. AdWeek

Why Consumers Leave E-Commerce Sites and Apps Without Purchasing – An item’s price and its shipping costs, along with not being able to find the right item are among the top ten reasons why consumers have abandoned a brand’s online shopping system, according to an Episerver report compiled from a survey of over 4,000 consumers worldwide. Ayaz Nanji of MarketingProfs takes a look at this report in his recent piece “Why Consumers Leave E-Commerce Sites and Apps Without Purchasing.” Marketingprofs

Twitter may eventually let anyone become verified – Someday Twitter may allow any user to get a verified...