Video Ads Are Finally Coming to LinkedIn (client) – When LinkedIn began allowing users to upload videos in August, video ads seemed like an inevitability, and they are now one step closer. LinkedIn announced today that it is running a closed beta test of video for sponsored content “with a limited number of advertisers.” AdWeek
Twitter Plans To Release A Bookmarking Tool #SaveforLater. You know how you can save posts to read later in Facebook? Well, Twitter is looking to do the same thing. For all of you liking posts as a way to bookmark, you can stop that practice with this new feature. Will this mean likes will go down? Probably. BuzzFeed
New Research: The state of marketing attribution – A growing number of marketers are using attribution in all or most of their marketing efforts, according to a recent study from Econsultancy and AdRoll. However, the number of marketers acting on the insights they pull from attribution data is dwindling. Econsultancy
Snapchat Introduces “context cards” – Snapchat released ‘Context Cards’ this week, which have the potential to bolster marketing efforts for restaurants, venues and other destinations. These cards will pull in information based on the Snap’s geo-filters and map information that will lead viewers to online reviews, Uber and Lyft information and more. TechCrunch
AdWords Charges & Your Daily Budget – If you’ve been struggling to reach your advertising goals, AdWords has made some recent changes to help get you over the hump. As of October 4th, campaigns are now able to spend up to twice the average daily budget. Don’t fret about racking up the costs at the end of the month as you will not be charged more than your monthly charging limit. Google
Twitter Happening Now – Twitter is adding a “Happening Now” feature that will group tweets by event, the company announced today. The feature, which will start with sports games, is yet another way the company is seeking to highlight information on its platform outside of the traditional follow model. Buzzfeed
Social media monitor Brandwatch acquires content marketing platform BuzzSumo – Two things that are great on their own are not often better together, but that’s exactly what the marketing industry expects from the combination of BuzzSumo and Brandwatch. TechCrunch
Connect the Dots from Data to Better Customer Experiences – Join me and Michael Trapani of IBM on October 26th for a free webinar to better understand the opportunities around creating best answer experiences with cognitive technologies. IBM Watson
Infographic: YouTube has grown to 1.5 billion monthly active users – MarketingProfs
LinkedIn connects sales, marketing tools for B2B advertisers to target leads, accounts – MarTech Today
I know that I’m a bit weird and unique. I started blogging back in 1998. I launched a podcast in 2005. I’ve been doing video since 2006. But there’s a reason and I want to share it with you.
Why I Make My Own Shows
I grew up in the 70s and 80s. Back then, you had about five or six TV channels, a few viable radio options, and maybe magazines or newspapers. That was how ideas came into the house outside of library books.
On TV, we had crappy cartoons. People making shows in the 70s especially just figured if it was colorful and whimsical and cheap to make, kids would watch it. Junk.
And there was no variety. And they never talked about what I thought was interesting.
Oh, and now? We have infinite options. But that’s because of people like me.
I make my own shows because I want to share what’s interesting to me with those of you who find it interesting and helpful.
Everything Is Easier
Your smartphone is enough to get you started in blogging, podcasting, or videoblogging. There are tons of solutions for hosting your content. The TECH is the least interesting part of the story because it’s just so ubiquitous and so easy.
It’s the content. It’s what you decide to talk about. That’s the tricky part. But that’s the best thing about this. You get to focus on what gets you excited!
I listen to a weird variety of podcasts, mostly about non-business topics. There are tons of great shows out there now. Tens of thousands.
The subject matter can be whatever, as long as you make it interesting and entertaining (and informative).
We Need YOUR Show
In this case, “we” means the world. I might not be the right guy for your show. You might love to knit socks for cats. Not my show. But someone out there loves knitting, loves cats, and wants your cat-sock-knitting show.
And we need more B2B shows. I’d watch plumbers do cool HVAC jobs any day of the week. To me, the “our hands are in this mess” podcasts from the B2B world are sorely missing. We’re letting the marketing departments make this stuff and that’s not right. Sun Microsystems did this right back in the old days. They had the best blogs and podcasts based on really obscure things and the content was incredibly useful.
Get Over Yourself
The big reason you haven’t made a cool show is that you’re worried that you’re too fat, skinny, ugly, old or something else. Your dumb self-image is keeping you from making us an incredible and useful show. Stop it.
You probably ARE too old/young/ugly/fat/skinny/weird looking something. Who cares? Some of the most interesting people are all of those things. I’m more than half of those things and I make a show.
Just Make Them With Heart
Don’t just poop another show into the world. Make something you care about. Otherwise, no one else will care about it. I promise. If it’s just a chore for you, it’s a chore for us to consume. And we won’t.
Make something that you want to show someone you love. Make something that will draw the others who are into what you’re into together. Make something that helps us all thrive a bit more in some way.
That’s what we need. That’s why we need YOUR show. Okay?
“We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean),” the company said in a press release on its blog. “Although this is only available to a small group right now, we want to be transparent about why we are excited to try this.”
For marketers, many may feel like Christmas has come early. Let’s face it, writing a compelling and comprehensive tweet in just 140 characters is an art — an art that seems almost impossible to master. With double the amount of space, the pressure is off and marketers can unleash their full wordsmithing talent. Um, right?
Not so fast.
Twitter’s 140-character limit has been a defining platform characteristic since its inception — and something many users are extremely partial to.
“Twitter is about brevity. It’s what makes it such a great way to see what’s happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change,” Twitter said in its release. “We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters — we felt it, too.”
While Twitter is confident that giving users more real estate will make it easier and more fun to tweet, marketers should not look at it as an opportunity to rewrite their tweeting best practices. The real opportunity here is to discover whether or not you can use that extra space to deliver more value and resonance to your audience.
So, once “super-sized” tweets — as The Verge so eloquently called them — come to your account, don’t throw caution to the wind right away. Start with these actions:
#1 – Audit your existing Twitter initiatives.
Take a deep dive into your analytics dashboard to get a deeper understanding of how your audience is already engaging with your tweets and taking action on them.
Of course, the basic metrics are important because they can serve as your benchmarks. But also go beyond the metrics to start categorizing what content garners the most engagement so you can draw some more meaningful insights. For example, what topics seem to fire your audience up? How long are your most effective tweets? Are images or video a part of your most successful tweets? Which tweets featuring my website content got the most clicks? What really seems to be working? What’s clearly not working?
In addition, it’s worth taking a peek at your website analytics to understand how Twitter is impacting your business. Depending on what you uncover through the Twitter dashboard, you might be able to draw some more conclusions on what tweet content has value beyond awareness and engagement.
Use the information you uncovered during your audit to build out and launch a test campaign featuring longer tweets. Of course, build these tweets in accordance with what you know is working best with your audience, but also give yourself some space to experiment a bit. We’d suggest running the test for at least a month to get enough data to lead into the next action.
Now it’s time to dive back into your analytics to understand how your test tweets stack up to your legacy efforts. Did you see a measurable rise or decline in engagement? What kind of engagement did you receive (i.e. increase in average comments or decrease in average retweets)? Was there a certain type of content that really benefited from that extra character room?
At the end of the day, character count simply doesn’t matter if what you’re sharing has no value or resonance with your audience. Since Twitter launched, the tight character count has been a creative restraint, challenging us all to say more with less. So, while you should certainly take advantage of the extra room when it makes sense, your primary objective should always be bringing insight and value to your audience. Because when they see the value you bring to the table, they’ll reward you for it.
To open up the 2017 MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, Chief Content Officer Ann Handley shared a challenge for attendees to keep top of mind while at the conference (in addition to tap dancing, but more about that later):
#1 – Find Your Squad
This has been a running theme for the B2B Marketing Forum for as long as I can remember. Because the conference is capped at around 1,000 attendees, you actually have the opportunity to run into some familiar faces during the conference.
Even if you traveled to the event with members of your own team, it’s important to make the effort to meet new people, “your people”. I’ve been lucky to meet some really amazing people at conferences and continue to be in contact with many of them to this day.
We were fortunate to have a team at MPB2B that included myself, Lee Odden, Alexis Hall and Dan Rasmussen. This is a theme that resonates very well with us as we are constantly looking to add new members to our squad at TopRank Marketing in the form of new team members, industry influencers and prospective clients.
#2 – Go Outside Your Comfort Zone
It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert, there will be situations that push you outside of your comfort zone. It could be walking up and starting a conversation with someone you’ve never met, interviewing one of your marketing heros, or for me, speaking on stage at my favorite conference to a room full of smart marketers.
Often, once you do make the effort to step outside of your comfort zone you quickly find that you’re actually having fun and wish you would have taken strides sooner.
These two challenges posed by Ann Handley led our team to push ourselves at this conference and align very well with some of our core values. Below is a recap of how we found our squad, went outside our comfort zones and learned as much as we could in an action packed three days.
Celebrating Squad & Comfort Zone Queen Ann Handley
If you’re like most marketers, Ann Handley’s squad is one that you want to be a part of. Ann is a genuinely kind, warm and incredibly smart individual that I feel lucky to know. But don’t take my word for it, see what some of today’s top B2B marketers had to say:
And if I thought that I stepped out of my comfort zone at MPB2B, it didn’t even come close to Ann taking the stage and tap dancing her little heart out in front of 1,000 marketers:
Spending Time with our Squad
Marketing events present a great opportunity to spend time with the marketers that you love and respect the most. We were fortunate that many of these people were at MPB2B last week.
The first night we were lucky enough to spend some time with our squad from LinkedIn Marketing Solutions (who also happen to be a TopRank Marketing client). This group of marketers are some of the most talented and driven people I know.
Thanks for the memories!
On night two, TopRank Marketing hosted a VIP event that included some of our amazing clients, friends and top influencers at the conference.
Thank you everyone for taking the time out of your slammed schedules to share some drinks, eats and conversation with our team!
Sharing Smarts with Fellow Marketers
Events present the opportunity to learn from some of the top marketing minds in the industry. And since we know not everyone was able to attend MPB2B, we set out to capture some of the top insights from the conference. Below is what we uncovered:
Even though B2B marketers have begun to explore influencer marketing further in recent years, they’re still struggling to prove the ROI of these efforts. In his session, TopRank Marketing’s Lee Odden shared 5 essential steps for driving ROI with B2B influencer marketing.
While the majority of marketers believe that LinkedIn is THE social media channel for business, many are struggling to implement a LinkedIn strategy that garners results. These takeaways from LinkedIn’s Alex Rynne and HubSpot’s Chris Wilson will help you get closer to success.
Limited budget, time and resources are a struggle that all content marketers face, no matter the size of their organization. In his presentation, GE Digital’s Chris Moody shared quick tips for advancing your content as well as a breakdown for how a limited budget of $1k could be spent for maximum impact.
One of the top objectives for many brands today is to find a way to get audiences to binge on their content. But, creating binge-worthy content takes effort. See Ardath Albee’s top tips for creating content sure to keep your audience coming back for more.
Marketing activities that aren’t tied to results make it difficult to prove value. BrightFunnel’s Dayna Rothman shows how marketers can turn the buyer journey into a science by properly leveraging data and analytics.
In addition to his session covered above, Lee also participated in a panel about the convergence of ABM and Content Marketing. This panel provided great insights on how brands can reprogram organizational tactics to create a more focused, hyper-personalized approach to ABM.
On the final day of the conference, I took the stage for the first time at MPB2B to discuss scrappy B2B creativity hacks with my panelists Nick Westergaard and Andy Hunt. As this was the last session on the last day of the conference, we decided to make our session interactive and answer the audience’s most burning questions about B2B creativity.
Image via @michaelnob
Who are the 50 Top B2B Marketing Influencers From MPB2B?
As is tradition, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden gathered the marketers speaking at the B2B Marketing Forum and ran them through Traackr to see which ones ranked highest related to B2B marketing. Want to see who made the cute? Read: 50 Top B2B Marketing Influencers 2017
Coming Soon: Marketing Expert Interview Series
While at the B2B Marketing Forum, Dan Rasmussen and I had the opportunity to interview seven leading marketing experts on everything from their journey into content marketing, to what they predict as the future for content marketers.
It’s no mystery that I’m a big fan of BuzzSumo. I’ve been a customer since they launched and have advocated for the platform in blog posts, interviews and marketing presentations all over the world – including keynoting at the BuzzSumo ContentSEO conference in New York.
I’ve also been a fan of Brandwatch after my pal Richard Bagnall introduced me to the CEO, Giles Palmer. I’ve had a chance to spend time with Giles as well as members of the Brandwatch team at their user conference and in the Brandwatch New York office.
Steve Rayson from BuzzSumo gave me the heads up earlier today, “BuzzSumo will remain as a separate product but we will leverage Brandwatch’s expertise, data and resources to improve what we do. The team and I will be staying on. I just wanted to say thanks again for all your support over the years and I look forward to working with you in future as part of the Brandwatch team.”
Of course I reached out to Giles as well to ask, “Why BuzzSumo” and how Steve was persuaded to finally sell? Giles shared, “Steve and I have gotten to know each other over the last few years. I think steve saw our culture was progressive and felt that we would not destroy what he and the team had built. For my part, they’re an extraordinary team and we can help them do even greater things. It feels right.”
I can tell you this partnership feels right too. BuzzSumo is an amazing platform with an impressive user experience and capabilities. Brandwatch is easily one of the most powerful social media listening and analytics platforms around. The combination of expertise is sure to be impressive and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the two platforms make each other better. Content and Social Media make the digital marketing world go ’round.
Just in case you’re not aware, Brandwatch is an international, tier one social listening and analytics platform in use by major brands like our clients State Farm and 3M as well as Walmart and VICE.
And BuzzSumo is a “walk the talk” Swiss Army Knife of social media, influencer and content insights providing content analysis, social and influencer research. They also have the recently added Question Analyzer. Companies like BuzzFeed, TechTarget, and Rolling Stone as well as many, many agencies and in-house marketers use BuzzSumo on a daily basis, just like we do at TopRank Marketing.
Here are a few more details from the press release:
BuzzSumo will retain its branding as its team continues managing all day-to-day functions of the business. The tool’s highly successful trend identification and content discovery capabilities, along with an expansion of its content measurement offering will be enhanced with a hefty infusion of Brandwatch’s data and analytics expertise, and global business footprint.
The combination of two companies’ complementary technologies represents a formidable force in content marketing, one of the most rapidly growing marketing industries. According to Ryan Skinner, senior analyst at independent research firm Forrester Research, US companies alone spent upwards of $10 billion on content marketing in 2016*.
Brandwatch adds BuzzSumo to its social intelligence offerings alongside Analytics, its core listening product, Vizia, its revolutionary data communication platform and Audiences, the company’s influencer and audience analysis tool. Audiences itself is powered by the data and influence technology integrated as a result of Brandwatch’s successful first acquisition, PeerIndex, in December 2014.
Congratulations to Steve and BuzzSumo team as well as Giles and the Brandwatch team!
We’ve all been there. The big marketing campaign you spent months on just ended, it was a smashing success! Champagne was popped, there were pats on the back all around, life was good. But when the dust finally settles, you’re left staring a mountain of data square in there eyes, wondering if the marketing attribution you set up tells the real story.
Fortunately for you, during this year’s MarketingProfs B2B Marketing Forum, Dayna Rothman of BrightFunnel broke down how you as a savvy marketer can orchestrate the buyer journey and turn it into a science by properly leveraging data and analytics.
The “Marketing Holy Grail” is to turn the buyer journey into a science by sending the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
Consider the Typical Buyer Journey
In any well-rounded buyer journey, Dayna explained, there are several marketing touch points that the buyer will likely come in contact with. However, in most cases we track the sale or lead back to just a single touch point, such as a click from an offer email. But this doesn’t generally tell the whole story of the typical buyer journey. In most buyer journeys there are several touch points that contributed to the sale or conversion. Because of this, it is crucial that you are tracking all touch points in the buyer journey and not just one element. Doing this will allow you to truly orchestrate the buyer journey.
Track Metrics that matter
So now that you know you need to be tracking all elements in the buyer journey, what should you focus on first? Dayna outlined five key metrics to keep your eye on:
First touch attribution—what brings people into your funnel
Last-touch attribution—what converts people to become customers
Multi-touch attribution—what accelerates people through your funnel
Velocity—how fast a piece of content, a channel, or a campaign moves people through your funnel
Full account analysis—how everything adds up in order to determine the best path to sale
By accurately tracking the above elements, you will be armed with the data that will allow you to begin to orchestrate an optimized buyer journey. Look for trends in how fast campaigns move the buyer through the funnel, the order in which content is downloaded, which channels and campaigns are most effective in each level of the funnel and even how sales activity integrates into the overall buyer journey. It is important to note here that although elements like first touch and last touch attribution can be relatively easy to identify in programs like Google Analytics and AdWords, professional marketing attribution software, if used properly will make full attribution tracking a much more manageable task.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Mapping the buyer journey and truly measuring attribution can be a time intensive effort. So to get the most out of this initiative, be sure to:
Benchmark your current program performance and buyer journey so that you can effectively measure success.
Set a series of goals that align to your business objectives.
Make sure that your technology stack can account for your attribution needs.
Ensure that your tools are syncing properly.
Become a change agent within your marketing team.
4 Key Marketing Attribution Takeaways
Dayna’s presentation did a really great job of showing the amazing level of detail and insight a fully attributed marketing program can give you. Although the above recap only scratched the surface on her valuable insights from the day, I will leave you with my four key takeaways:
The holy grail of marketing is turning the buyer journey into a science
Orchestrate your customer journey by leveraging data and analytics
Look at single-touch and multi-touch attribution to know what to say to your customer and when to say it
Constantly keep testing and optimizing for success!
Have you cracked the code on marketing attribution for your organization? If so, how did that change your approach?
Disclosure: BrightFunnel is a TopRank Marketing client.
Over the last five years, we’ve seen an evolution in the way B2B marketers are talking about and using social media. We’ve evolved from asking “Should we be doing it?” to “Is what we are doing worth it?” to now “How do I make this really effective channel even more effective?”.
According to a recent study from Oktopost, 79% of B2B marketers believe social media is an effective marketing channel (Oktopost). And for many B2B marketers, LinkedIn is THE social media channel. In fact 43% of marketers say they’ve sourced a customer from LinkedIn (Hubspot).
But could we be doing better? Can we use LinkedIn more effectively?
To help answer that question, Alex Rynne, Content Marketing Manager at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions and Chris Wilson, Inbound Consultant from Hubspot, provided B2B marketers with an actionable, detailed plan to drive bigger, better performance from LinkedIn tools at last week’s B2B Marketing Forum in Boston.
Linkedin Company & Showcase Pages
LinkedIn Company and Showcase pages are great opportunities to establish and build your company’s identity. It’s a completely free tool that allows your brand to connect professionals with your employees and your brand to share knowledge with your community.
LinkedIn Showcase pages allow you to create dedicated pages for individual brands and are another opportunity to build individual brand identity.
What to Share:
Showcase your expertise with large assets like webinars and eBooks.
Engage with short digestible stats and quotes.
Illustrate industry savvy with 3rd party content. Alex shares that no one wants to talk to the person at the party that only talks about themselves. 3rd party content shows you’re on top of trends within the industry, creates opportunities for engagement with your audience and helps build influencer relationships.
LinkedIn Company and Showcase Page Action Items:
Post 3-4xs per day.
Engage with and respond to followers comments: Don’t ignore your followers. If they take the time to engage with you, show them your appreciation and build strong engagement by responding.
Change your header image every 6 months: Chris compares the header image to the front door of your LinkedIn page. Make it attractive and people will want to come in. Take advantage of the header real estate and switch it up periodically to promote to campaigns or messaging.
Publishing on LinkedIn
According to Alex, over 1 million unique publishers publish more than 130,000 posts a week on LinkedIn and 45% of LinkedIn readers are in the upper ranks of their industries (i.e. managers, VPs, CEOs, etc.). So publishing content is a great way to connect with key people in your industry and further establish your professional identity.
Post reviews & Profile views
Demographics of your readers
Likes, comments and shares
What to Share:
Although there is no silver bullet for exactly what and how often you should publish. Alex and Chris shares examples of what tends to work best.
Publish when you feel passionate. If you post when you are creatively inspired, about something you care about, this is when your work will be most likely to resonate with your audience and inspire engagement. Content about lessons learned and your professional expertise will be most relevant to your audience.
Crowdsource content. Look at the questions your audience is asking and identify their pain points. This content will undoubtedly resonate.
Share relevant, timely content about events or industry news. Tap into the conversations that are already happening by posting an opinion or tips related to something current in the news.
Publish when you feel passionate (this is listed twice because it is that important).
Recommended bi-weekly or once a month.
LinkedIn Sponsored Content
LinkedIn Sponsored content allow you to reach a target audience of people who are not already following you.
Visual is the new headline. There is so much content in the feed, make sure your content is really eye catching. If you can, move beyond stock photos and do your own photoshoot.
Keep it short & sweet. Be mindful of your mobile users and make content easy to consumer.
Snackable stats work wonders. Provide your audience with 3rd party validation to backup your message.
Variety is the spice of life. Variety allows you to avoid creative fatigue but also see what resonates the best with your audience.
What to Share:
Content that asks readers to participate i.e. survey, nominations
Repurposed, straightforward content
Always be Testing:
With the amount of content clutter, testing is a great way to find out what is most likely to work with your audience and make the most out of what you are publishing. Alex and Chris recommend testing anything from word choice (i.e. eBook versus guide), content (inclusion of a stat or benefit), and images (photo or graphic).
Select a compelling visual.
Run 2-4 posts per week.
Run the test for 3 weeks, to ensure you have an actionable result.
Add URL tracking codes to measure post click actions (site visits and conversions)
Setup campaigns by audience and make sure you tailor the content to the audience (i.e. managers versus c-suite).
Shift budget to the audience with the highest engagement rate. Spend your money where you are going to get the most impact.
LinkedIn Sponsored InMail
LinkedIn InMail allows you to send personalized messages to the people who matter most to your business. InMail can work even better than email at reaching certain audiences.
Inquiries and leads
Program application and brochure downloads
What to Share:
Webinar an industry event invitations
Product one sheets
Blog subscription campaigns
Keep copy under 1000 characters (but AB test).
Use a clear CTA in the top right banner.
Choose a sender that is credible to your audience. If audiences have never heard of your brand before, your open rates will be lower, than if it’s from a person they know.
Leverage personalization. InMail allows you to add the recipient’s name or other customized information.
Have a hyperlink early in the body of the message.
Select a concise subject link.
Set up A/B test to learn what resonates.
Bonus Opportunity: Linkedin Conversion Tracking:
Obviously, tracking is so critical to reporting the results of your campaigns, but also to optimize and iterate for the go forward.
Chris outlines the steps for setting up LinkedIn conversion tracking:
Use a Google Analytics tracking code for easy set up.
Assign a Conversion value: If you don’t know this, create an estimate based on product value and close rate .
Tie it all together: This way you can show clear value, nice argument for executives that you need more value.
Don’t do Social Campaigns, Make Every Campaign Social
Using a tactical plan like the one Alex and Chris shared will allow you to really harness the power of LinkedIn. Once this happen, you can truly integrate social into all of your campaigns in order to engagement with your audience and accelerate the impact of your content.