Costly missteps can break your business. Do your bottom line (and your customers) a favor by conducting a quick audit of your marketing strategy.
Posted by Alex-T
The chances that your company invests in a content marketing strategy are very high. Content Marketing Institute revealed that 89% of B2B and 86% of B2C marketers use content marketing, while the money spent on this activity ranges between 26% to 30% of an entire marketing budget.
I believe that spending up to 50% of your overall budget on content marketing needs isn’t too much, if you know how to take advantage of it. Not only will it benefit your brand’s awareness, but it will also help you generate traffic, leads, and sales. My personal experience working with digital businesses has shown that only a few are successful in finding a strategic approach to their content plan. Sadly, most companies practice throwing spaghetti on the wall to see if a piece of content gets any readers.
In this post, you’ll learn how to ensure that every piece of content you create drives traffic, attracts leads, and generates sales. I’ll give you ready-to-use solutions on how you can plan, execute, and measure your content promotion, so that content starts earning your business money.
Disclaimer: If you decide to follow any of my recommendations, make sure to adjust these techniques in accordance to your audience’s interests and your business needs, and test, test, and test again. As we all know, every business is unique, and what’s good for one brand may not be as helpful for another. Remember that blindly following any suggestions and mimicking other brands’ activities may not deliver desirable results.Numbers don’t lie: Measure how your current content is performing
It’s important to start off your new content marketing campaign by analyzing your current situation. You may discover old content that hasn’t performed well yet, but that has the potential to benefit you with a few changes and a second chance. Working with old content is always a good idea, as the copywriting is already taken care of.
Many marketers don’t understand what’s absolutely required when it comes to measuring a content marketing campaign. Data measurement and analysis can be quite intimidating, especially if you’re just starting out.
Here are two steps to take in order to get some meaningful insights:1. Figure out how your content ranks in Google and whether it brings you traffic and conversions
To get ahold of this data, you’re going to need a combination of tools.Start with Google Analytics
The “Landing Pages” report in Google Analytics will show how your pages perform according to the number of impressions, clicks, conversions, and the average position of each page in the search results. To view this report in Google Analytics, your Google Search Console needs to be connected with your Google Analytics account. If you haven’t connected it yet, this data can be viewed directly in Google Search Console via the “Search Traffic” > “Search Analytics” report.
The problem with Google, though, is that it doesn’t give you a page’s exact ranking; it only shows your site’s average position. It also requires you to check each page manually, so you can’t see a bigger picture all at once. Using tools — like SEMrush, SpyFu, Searchmetrics, Ahrefs, SERPstat, etc. — will allow you to see more precise data about your content’s rankings. For example, here’s a screenshot of a Google Analytics report showing a list of keywords for which a specific page appears in the SERPs:
And here’s the same data from SEMrush that allows you to filter pages, export the data, and work with it in a spreadsheet:
2. Find content that can be easily improved/edited to begin bringing value
After completing step #1, you’ll have an all-encompassing picture of your content’s past performance. Geared up with the information you’ve uncovered, find those pages that are showing up in the search results and bringing you clicks and conversions, but that aren’t listed among the top five or ten search results. These pages have a lot of potential to make it to the top of Google. I would recommend checking whether these pieces:Are supported by internal links. The higher the referring article is in the search results, the better it is for you. Are easily discoverable. How long will it take a user to find your article? And I’m not talking only about the number of internal links in your content piece, but also whether it’s featured in a similar content feed on blog posts. Have enough external links. If there are none, then you should definitely consider mentioning your article in one of your next guest posts, or ask your colleagues in the PR department to help spread the word. Have a well-written title and meta descriptions. Sometimes, this is what really affects your click-through rate and, as a result, your traffic. Make a user stay on your page reading longer. If the answer is no, you need to brainstorm what kind of triggers you can add to your page so that your users spend some time browsing around your content. It could be a catchy GIF, educational videos, or product slide presentations. The needs and wants of your business: Define the right metrics to track your progress
From an early age, we’re taught that there’s a difference between a need and a want, that we only have a few true basic needs, and myriad wants. The same logic can be applied to the business world, but it’s a lot harder to discern and comprehend.
During this stage, you need to select highly meaningful and relevant metrics that align perfectly with your business needs. Please don’t try to use generic metrics — your business may have its own kind of struggles and goals. For some businesses, for instance, a conversion does not equal money. I run a free online conference called Digital Olympus that does not intend to sell anything. For me, a conversion is a registration, and I’ve come to learn that the best conversion for my situation is when a registered user attends my online event. Keep such things in mind at all times!
Another great example of a non-monetary conversion comes from one of my clients. They are a completely free SaaS software for specialists in the agricultural industry. They realized that their conversions aren’t registrations alone, and the reason is quite simple. After carefully analyzing their users’ behavior, they discovered that after a user registers, they aren’t taking advantage of their tool at all. For them, the best conversion is a registered user that is actively involved with their product. Coincidentally, that’s where content marketing can come into play to solve their problems. Their users need help to understand how they can take advantage of the software; adding relevant content to the company’s site will surely add clarity and improve users’ understanding of their product.
When it comes to creating and managing content, it’s always a good idea to see exactly how users interact with it. Do they click on your call-to-action buttons? How many of them read your article in its entirety? All of these metrics are very easy to track if you use Google Tag Manager. It’s a must-have tool, allowing you to track whatever you want without going through the excruciating process of dealing with your dev team. Here’s an excellent post by Simo Ahava that explains which metrics you can track and analyze with the help of GTM.
Have your Google Analytics reports ever shown you something like this?:
If the answer is yes, you must know that elevating feeling of joy and excitement, seeing all these visitors checking out your page. But unless you’re a deliberate YouTuber with a fame complex, you’re not interested in traffic, per se. You want to witness conversions.
The goals of pages that attract traffic but don’t convert, in the majority of cases, don’t match up to the goals of your web visitors. If you haven’t added lead magnets on those pages yet, it should be your top priority, because currently those content pieces aren’t converting your traffic into something tangible.Don’t neglect the importance of SEO
Yes, it’s definitely important to write meaningful content that will perfectly resonate with your audience — but that’s not all. If you want to bring a steady flow of new visitors with the help of that content, you must optimize each of your posts to make sure that it has a fighting chance to rank on Google.
I highly recommend spending some time researching topics that will increase your chances to rank well. Below are a few ways you can identify them:1. Find related keywords
Imagine you discovered that keywords related to “content marketing strategy” are the keywords driving the most conversions. Those keywords should be analyzed in order to find other keywords related to that subject. These keywords have proven to mirror your audience’s search behavior the most, and they’re very promising in terms of earning you more paying clients.
One of the easiest ways to find related keywords is to simply check Google’s Autocomplete. You can look for autocomplete suggestions manually or by using tools like AnswerThePublic.com and Keywordtool.io. The latter scans Google Autosuggest and gives you the search volume for each keyword entered. It’s a time-saver.
Another tool worth trying is SEMrush’s Keyword Magic tool. It automatically gives you the most necessary information about a keyword, factoring in metrics such as CPC and volume (basic, but much-needed), keyword difficulty, competition level, SERP features, and exact and broad keyword matches. This tool gathers the data you need and offers a wide range of analysis for both single keywords and groups of keywords.2. Check the competition level in the SERPs
After you’ve compiled a list of related keywords, it’s time to choose the keywords (e.g., topics for your future articles) that will help you rank higher in Google.
To save time, use a tool like SEMrush’s Keyword Difficulty. It tells you how difficult it will be for you to promote your piece of content based on the domain’s visibility in organic search results. However, the Keyword Difficulty tool doesn’t consider the number of referring domains for the website or page URL you’re trying to look up. Here’s what you can do to make the process of gathering this missing data hassle-free:
After these steps are completed, you’ll see how many referring domains each of your content pieces ought to have in order to rank higher. You’ll also be able to identify the number of referring domains by looking at how many links have been acquired by the other pages that currently rank well.Content promotion that gives short-term results
As I’ve mentioned previously, you need to remember that ranking in Google and attracting organic visitors are among the top goals of any content piece. Ideally, every article you publish on your website should eventually rank well, but you need to give your new SEO campaign some time before it bears fruit. While you’re waiting, you can take advantage of the promotional activities that allow for almost instantaneous results. Depending on your budget and your current rankings, choose one of the following promotional activities that seem most relevant for you.A. Promote your posts on social media channels
Some people say the world will never be same again thanks to social media. Not sure how to interpret that exactly, but not taking advantage of this powerful channel is reckless! This is a basic and very common way to promote content, and it’s not rocket science to figure out how things work. But let me give you a couple of really actionable tips that will help you to maximize the output:Create a short video to promote your content. They tend to perform really well on Facebook. Use GIFs that prove to be very effective. Tools like Canva will help you create them without needing to hire a designer, unless you really want your GIFs to win you an award. On Twitter, tag users that have recently shared something similar to your content. Search for a term that is related to your article, and you’ll see a list of users who you can tag. Facebook groups are always a great idea — especially private groups. I recommend researching such groups in advance. Be sure to think of a catchy, unique intro you’ll be able to post to each group. This article explains the benefits of building a Facebook group. Get inspired and get out there to network! If you want to promote your post on Facebook, make sure that your preview image meets the Facebook Ads Guidelines. Set up a small ad campaign on Twitter targeting users that have recently shared related content. Use BuzzSumo to find like-minded users. B. Collect leads
If you choose this way of promotion, then you are going to put in some work. A dull page with “meh”-looking content won’t cut it. You’ll need to prepare something beforehand, something that will look attractive enough to convince a visitor to give you their email. A user is more likely to give you their contact information when they are offered one (or all) of the following options:Exclusive content Content with quotes from or provided by well-known industry experts A webinar with a popular industry expert Useful tools and templates. For instance, it’d be very helpful if a post offered to download a free and ready-to-use content — a promotional plan with a detailed description of all stages and resources one may need to implement a marketing strategy.
In case you don’t have a staff developer to help you with designing and adding a form to your website, there are different online services (like wisepops.com, wishpond.com, popupmonkey.com, or sumo.com) that you can use to create any kind of forms you want.C. Use remarketing
Typically, only about 30% of visitors are willing to give you their contact details. The remaining 70% read or skim your content, close the tab, and get back to their routine. But you still have a second chance with them. How? The answer is remarketing:Prepare banners and landing pages that are relevant to your content. These can invite your users to join a webinar or offer an exclusive content. Basically, you can use the same lead magnets that you’ve already integrated into your content page. Prepare a script to automatically exclude your existing clients and leads from your remarketing campaign. There’s no need to bother them… yet. D. Use email marketing automation to turn leads into paying clients
If you are somehow collecting leads and aren’t putting them through email marketing funnels, then you might as well just burn the rest of your money. HubSpot will really come in handy here because you can create email marketing funnels based not only on how users interact with your emails, but also on the type of pages your leads have visited. I’ve tried several HubSpot features while working on a few projects in the past, and I couldn’t have asked for a more powerful functionality.
In case you aren’t a Hubspot user, there are other marketing tools that allow you to create email funnels. I’d also suggest involving your leads in as many activities as you possibly can, because every interaction matters and is making them warmer. Ask them to follow you on social media channels. You can also offer some case studies or success stories another client shared about your brand. Real-life cases with your actual clients are very powerful, and the open and click rates of these emails can be a lot higher.
Before you start pushing your products or services to your leads, it’s important to research what brought them to your website in the first place. This is absolutely essential, but sadly, a lot of companies tend to forget to do this research and fail; open rates plummet and users unsubscribe. Don’t let this happen to you.In conclusion
It’s obvious why some blogs only post a couple of articles a year. What’s the point in creating tons of content that won’t bring any value to the business?
Always keep your SEO goals in mind, and remember that you have to do some preparation in order for them to be delivered accurately and on time. Even short-term results require some leg work. No doubt that, once you’ve adjusted your routine, practiced some of the tactics mentioned above, and are consistent with them, every time you create a piece of meaningful and purposeful content, it will take you less time to manage and promote it.
Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!
If video isn’t already an important part of your content marketing strategy, odds are it’s about to be. Web content is taking a turn toward video whether SEOs and content marketers like it or not. Nearly 50% of marketers are adding YouTube and Facebook channels for video distribution in the next year; one third of online activity is spent watching video; and video itself is projected to account for more than 80% of all internet traffic by 2019. 80%!
For those looking to continue to grow their organic traffic, that means one thing:
Not an expert? Don’t have a video studio, or a bona fide video specialist to shoot and cut your features? That’s alright! The goal of today’s blog is to show you that with the right video editing software, you too can churn out sleek, professional video content—regardless of experience—and keep your content strategy ahead of the curve.
Let’s dive in! Here are our top 10 best pieces of video editing software for beginners—from cheapest (i.e. free!) to most expensive.1. Apple iMovie
Ok—so to those of you working with PCs, this one won’t really apply; but we’d remiss to leave it off the list. If you’re looking for simplicity and elegance, it doesn’t get much better than Apple iMovie. iMovie’s ten high-fidelity filters are some of the classiest in the video editing game; and if you’re shooting on your iPhone, or have been editing a project on your iPad, you can use AirDrop to wirelessly and seamlessly transfer your project over to your Mac.
One of iMovie’s most coveted features is its green-screen, or “chroma-key” tool, which allows you to place your characters in exotic locations—Hawaii, say—at a moment’s notice. Want to overlay the scene with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”? iMovie ties directly in with iTunes and GarageBand, so you can easily implement custom tracks and sounds. When your movie’s finally ready to ship, release it into the wild using iMessage, Facebook, YouTube, or any other of iMovie’s succinctly connected platforms.
Standout Features: Seamless Apple product integration; green-screen; audio and social platform integration
Pricing: Free with the purchase of a Mac2. Lumen5
We’ll put this more in the category of a video editing “tool” than video editing software, but for social media marketers who want to create fun, flashy social promos in the blink of an eye, Lumen5 is a no brainer. Here’s a short little feature we made for a recent blog post, 14 Fun & Festive Holiday Marketing Ideas for 2017:
Lumen5 markets itself as a tool that turns blog posts into social promos. While the process isn’t perfect, and you’ll likely have to do some tinkering to get your blog content looking just the way you want it, the rest of the video creation process is a cinch. Merely refine some copy that teases your blog post; drag and drop some gifs, screengrabs, or video clips; add some music; and your engaging social video will be ripe for Facebook and Twitter.
Standout Features: Blog-to-social-promo creation; drag-and-drop interface
Pricing: Create as many 480p videos as you want with the free version; or, for $50 per month, upgrade to 1080p HD.3. Nero Video
One of the cheaper options around ($49.99), Nero Video holds its own on this list—it comes well-stocked with a lot of the tricks and effects you’ll find among other products vying for video editing supremacy, and as far as software for beginners, you can certainly do worse. If you’re going to spend money on video editing software, however, you might want to steer clear. Nero just doesn’t have the speed and functionality of some of the other products listed here, and if it’s value proposition is its price, $50 is still not all that cheap.
Standout Features: Low pricing
Pricing: One-time payment of $49.994. Corel VideoStudio
Corel VideoStudio has all the characteristics of the other top-of-the-line products on this list, including 360-degree VR and 4k support, but it also has the distinction of being the first piece of consumer video editing software to offer motion tracking—which, if you’re not already familiar, is a feature that allows you to track specific objects throughout your cut (if you wanted, say, to point an arrow at one of your characters, blur out his face, or bestow him with a funny hat). Most of the products on this list come equipped with motion tracking, but VideoStudio still boasts one of the best motion tracking systems around.
One of the knocks on VideoStudio is its speed, which lags notably behind some of the faster systems on this list, like CyberLink PowerDirector and Pinnacle Studio. Still: for a one-time payment of $51.99? You can do much worse.
Standout Features: Motion tracking
Pricing: One-time payment of $51.995. Filmora from Wondershare
When it comes to free video editing software, Filmora is about as multi-faceted as they come. Filmora is Wondershare’s standard, simple, high-quality video editing offering; but Wondershare also offers FilmoraGo (for mobile editing) and Filmora Scrn (for screen recording and editing). The design is intuitive and easy to use, and comes replete with filters, overlays, motion elements, transitions, and a small selection of royalty-free music. Here are a few more of the “basics” Filmora offers:
4k and gif support are boilerplate features for most video editing products today, but one thing Filmora does particularly well is titles. Title tools are trending in video software, and while Filmora’s doesn’t have the functionality of say, an Apple Final Cut Pro X, which can superimpose 3D titles over your videos and rotate them on three axes, it nonetheless has some snazzy titling features for the money you’re spending:
Another Filmora feature beginners to video editing will find attractive is “Easy Mode,” which allows you to create fun, polished edits by merely dragging and dropping clips, choosing a theme, and selecting music.
Standout features: Title tool; mobile and screen editing; “Easy Mode”
Pricing: Starts at $59.99 for a lifetime license; or, $39.99 for a year.6. CyberLink PowerDirector
So—we stretched the meaning of “software” a bit earlier; now, we’re going to stretch the meaning of “beginner.” We included CyberLink PowerDirector on this list because its interface is, at the end of the day, pretty straightforward. Head to the product page, run through the tutorials, and you’ll be alright. There is within the interface, however, an embarrassment of options and effects. If you’re not willing to invest the time in learning all of them, it can get a bit overwhelming.
Don’t be scared of CyberLink’s extra features; just be wary of your commitment level!
In terms of rendering, PowerDirector is regarded as one of the fastest video editing systems around. It also operates consistently in the sphere of the innovative and cutting edge. PowerDirector led the charge in the switch to 4k, and today, it’s one of the first systems to support 360-degree virtual reality footage.
Price: you get what you pay for! $79.99 gets you unlimited access to one of the most capable pieces of video editing software around.
Standout Features: Lightning-fast rendering; comprehensive suite of effects
Pricing: One-time payment of $79.997. Adobe Premiere Elements
We include Premiere Elements on the list mostly because it’s been an industry leader in the video editing game for some time. And $79.99 is not egregious, but we’re here to say that at that price, you’re mostly paying for the name. In the time since Premiere Elements’ inception, too many other products have surpassed it in speed and capability for us to place it among the cream of the crop. That’s to take nothing away from Premiere Elements’ usability, though—specifically for beginners.
The Guided Edits feature makes Adobe Premiere a particularly attractive option for beginners, as it allows them to take on both quick edits and advanced projects with substantial assistance from the software.
If you’re not entirely sure what you’re doing, don’t sleep on Guided Edits!
So while Premiere Elements lags behind the competition in terms of speed, 3D editing, multi-cam, and some other advanced features, it’s still a great choice for the beginner looking for a comprehensive suite of effects, and some guidance on how to implement them.
Standout Features: Guided Edits; simple interface
Pricing: One-time payment of $79.998. Pinnacle Studio
At the higher end of the Corel product line is Pinnacle Studio—which, at $129.95 (the amount you’ll need to pay to edit 360-degree and 4k content with the “Ultimate” version), costs more than twice as much as VideoStudio. What do you get for the extra money? Well, not only does Pinnacle come readily equipped with all the features you’d expect from an upper-echelon product—motion tracking, 360-degree VR support, 4k support, multi-cam, etc.—but you’d be hard-pressed to find a faster product on the market in terms of rendering.
For all of its features, Pinnacle’s interface is still as user-friendly and intuitive as anything on this list. Thus, is you have the need for speed, and you don’t mind shelling out a few extra bucks for it, Pinnacle might be the product for you.
Standout Features: Top-of-the-line rendering speeds; full range of features and support
Pricing: One-time payment of $129.959. Adobe Premiere Pro
With a virtually unmatched suite of features, 360 VR and 4k support, and a newly implemented ability to store, organize, and share assets online with a team, Adobe Premiere Pro is perhaps the most complete piece of video editing software around. Here’s a recent video promo for our free AdWords account structure guide we cut using Premiere Pro:
One of the more dazzling of Premiere Pro’s tools is the Lumetri Color tool, which offers color adjustment and manipulation on par with that of a Photoshop. The multi-cam feature is also a winner—whereas most systems allow you to work with a limited number of camera angles, Premiere Pro’s latest iteration allows for an unlimited amount.
Throw in a wealth of titling options, readily connected ancillary apps (like Photoshop and After Effects), and a flexible, easy-to-use interface, and Premiere Pro is a no brainer.
Standout Features: Multi-cam and coloring options; title tool; easy integration with Adobe Products; straightforward interface
Pricing: $19.99/month10. Apple Final Cut Pro X
For the most advanced, least fiscally prudent of beginners, there’s Apple Final Cut Pro X. $299.99 might be a little steep for a product you may well have a difficult time understanding; but for those among you who enjoy a challenge, and who aspire to some level of professionalism in video editing, why not go for it? Apple has made the transition from iMovie to Final Cut Pro more painless than ever—so if you’re the kind of guy or gal who enjoys him/herself an Apple product, and has worked with iMovie to the point of mastery, it might be time to splurge on Final Cut Pro. The power is still daunting; the interface, significantly less so.
Standout Features: Magnetic Timeline; Touch Bar support
Pricing: One-time payment of $299.99Some Final Thoughts
Are you a content or social media marketer looking to get in the video editing game for the sake of keeping up with the growing video trend? Don’t stress! Any of the above products would make a fine choice for a beginner.
Think about your budget, your current level of expertise, and how much time you’re willing to devote to learning a new skill. If the responsibility has fallen on you to get your team’s video marketing strategy up to snuff, or if you’ve taken that responsibility upon yourself, that’s a good thing! Don’t wait around deliberating—get invested in one of these video editing products, and make it yours.
Posted by kerryjones
In my last post, I discussed why your top funnel content shouldn’t be all about your brand. Today I’m making a 180-degree turn and covering the value of content at the opposite end of the spectrum: content that’s directly about your business and offers proof of your effectiveness.
Specifically, I’m talking about case studies.
I’m a big believer in investing in case studies because I’ve seen firsthand what happened once we started doing so at Fractl. Case studies were a huge game changer for our B2B marketing efforts. For one, our case studies portfolio page brings in a lot of traffic – it’s the second most-visited page on our site, aside from our home page. It also brings in a significant volume of organic traffic, being our fourth most-visited page from organic searches. Most importantly, our case studies are highly effective at converting visitors to leads – about half of our leads view at least one of our case studies before contacting us.
Assuming anyone who reads the Moz Blog is performing some type of marketing function, I’m zeroing in on how to write a compelling marketing case study that differentiates your service offering and pulls prospects down the sales funnel. However, what I’m sharing can be used as a framework for creating case studies in any industry.Get your client on board with a case study
Marketers shy away from creating case studies for a few reasons:They’re too busy “in the weeds” with deliverables.They don’t think their results are impressive enough.They don’t have clients’ permission to create case studies.
While I can’t help you with #1 and #2 (it’s up to you to make the time and to get the results deserving of a case study!), I do have some advice on #3.
In a perfect world, clients would encourage you to share every little detail of your time working together. In reality, most clients expect you to remain tight-lipped about the work you’ve done for them.
Understandably, this might discourage you from creating any case studies. But it shouldn’t.
With some compromising, chances are your client will be game for a case study. We’ve noticed the following two objections are common regarding case studies.Client objection 1: “We don’t want to share specific numbers.”
At first it you may think, “Why bother?” if a client tells you this, but don’t let it hold you back. (Truth is, the majority of your clients will probably feel this way).
In this instance, you’ll want your case study to focus on highlighting the strategy and describing projects, while steering away from showing specific numbers regarding short and long-term results. Believe it or not, the solution part of the case study can be just as, or more, compelling than the results. (I’ll get to that shortly.)
And don’t worry, you don’t have to completely leave out the results. One way to get around not sharing actual numbers but still showing results is to use growth percentages.
Specific numbers: “Grew organic traffic from 5,000 to 7,500 visitors per month”
Growth percentage: “Increased organic traffic by 150%”
We do this for most of our case studies at Fractl, and our clients are totally fine with it.Client objection 2: “We don’t want to reveal our marketing strategy to competitors.”
A fear of giving away too much intel to competitors is especially common in highly competitive niches.
So how do you get around this?
Keep it anonymous. Don’t reveal who the client is and keep it vague about what niche they’re in. This can be as ambiguous as referring to the client as “Client A” or slightly more specific (“our client in the auto industry”). Instead, the case study will focus on the process and results – this is what your prospects care about, anyway.Gather different perspectives
Unless you were directly working with the client who you are writing the case study about, you will need to conduct a few interviews to get a full picture of the who, what, how, and why of the engagement. At Fractl, our marketing team puts together case studies based on interviews with clients and the internal team who worked on the client’s account.The client
Arrange an interview with the client, either on a call or via email. If you have multiple contacts within the client’s team, interview the main point of contact who has been the most involved in the engagement.
What to ask:What challenge were you facing that you hired us to help with?Had you previously tried to solve this challenge (working with another vendor, using internal resources, etc.)?What were your goals for the engagement?How did you benefit from the engagement (short-term and long-term results, unexpected wins, etc.)?
You’ll also want to run the case study draft by the client before publishing it, which offers another chance for their feedback.The project team
Who was responsible for this client’s account? Speak with the team behind the strategy and execution.
What to ask:How was the strategy formed? Were strategic decisions made based on your experience and expertise, competitive research, etc.?What project(s) were launched as part of the strategy? What was the most successful project?Were there any unexpected issues that you overcame?Did you refine the strategy to improve results?How did you and the client work together? Was there a lot of collaboration or was the client more hands-off? (Many prospective clients are curious about what their level of involvement in your process would look like.)What did you learn during the engagement? Any takeaways?Include the three crucial elements of a case study
There’s more than one way to package case studies, but the most convincing ones all have something in common: great storytelling. To ensure you’re telling a proper narrative, your case study should include the conflict, the resolution, and the happy ending (but not necessarily in this order).
We find a case study is most compelling when you get straight to the point, rather than making someone read the entire case study before seeing the results. To grab readers’ attention, we begin with a quick overview of conflict-resolution-happy ending right in the introduction.
For example, in our Fanatics case study, we summarized the most pertinent details in the first three paragraphs. The rest of the case study focused on the resolution and examples of specific projects.
Let’s take a look at what the conflict, resolution, and happy ending of your case study should include.The Conflict: What goal did the client want to accomplish?
Typically serving as the introduction of the case study, “the conflict” should briefly describe the client’s business, the problem they hired you to work on, and what was keeping them from fixing this problem (ex. lack of internal resources or internal expertise). This helps readers identify with the problem the client faced and empathize with them – which can help them envision coming to you for help with this problem, too.
Here are a few examples of “conflicts” from our case studies:“Movoto engaged Fractl to showcase its authority on local markets by increasing brand recognition, driving traffic to its website, and earning links back to on-site content.”“Alexa came to us looking to increase awareness – not just around the Alexa name but also its resources. Many people had known Alexa as the site-ranking destination; however, Alexa also provides SEO tools that are invaluable to marketers.”“While they already had strong brand recognition within the link building and SEO communities, Buzzstream came to Fractl for help with launching large-scale campaigns that would position them as thought leaders and provide long-term value for their brand.”The Resolution: How did you solve the conflict?
Case studies are obviously great for showing proof of results you’ve achieved for clients. But perhaps more importantly, case studies give prospective clients a glimpse into your processes and how you approach problems. A great case study paints a picture of what it’s like to work with you.
For this reason, the bulk of your case study should detail the resolution, sharing as much specific information as you and your client are comfortable with; the more you’re able to share, the more you can highlight your strategic thinking and problem solving abilities.
The following snippets from our case studies are examples of details you may want to include as part of your solution section:
What our strategy encompassed:
“Mixing evergreen content and timely content helped usher new and existing audience members to the We Are Fanatics blog in record numbers. We focused on presenting interesting data through evergreen content that appealed to a variety of sports fans as well as content that capitalized on current interest around major sporting events.” – from Fanatics case study
How strategy was decided:
“We began by forming our ideation process around Movoto’s key real estate themes. Buying, selling, or renting a home is an inherently emotional experience, so we turned to our research on viral emotions to figure out how to identify with and engage the audience and Movoto’s prospective clients. Based on this, we decided to build on the high-arousal feelings of curiosity, interest, and trust that would be part of the experience of moving.
We tapped into familiar cultural references and topics that would pique interest in the regions consumers were considering. Comic book characters served us well in this regard, as did combining publicly available data (such as high school graduation rates or IQ averages) with our own original research.” – from Movoto case study
Why strategy was changed based on initial results:
“After analyzing the initial campaigns, we determined the most effective strategy included a combination of the following content types designed to achieve different goals [case study then lists the three types of content and goals]…
This strategy yielded even better results, with some campaigns achieving up to 4 times the amount of featured stories and social engagement that we achieved in earlier campaigns.” – from BuzzStream case study
How our approach was tailored to the client’s niche:
“In general, when our promotions team starts its outreach, they’ll email writers and editors who they think would be a good fit for the content. If the writer or editor responds, they often ask for more information or say they’re going to do a write-up that incorporates our project. From there, the story is up to publishers – they pick and choose which visual assets they want to incorporate in their post, and they shape the narrative.
What we discovered was that, in the marketing niche, publishers preferred to feature other experts’ opinions in the form of guest posts rather than using our assets in a piece they were already working on. We had suspected this (as our Fractl marketing team often contributes guest columns to marketing publications), but we confirmed that guest posts were going to make up the majority of our outreach efforts after performing outreach for Alexa’s campaigns.” – from Alexa case study
Who worked on the project:
Since the interviews you conduct with your internal team will inform the solution section of the case study, you may want to give individuals credit via quotes or anecdotes as a means to humanize the people behind the work. In the example below, one of our case studies featured a Q&A section with one of the project leads.
The Happy Ending: What did your resolution achieve?
Obviously, this is the part where you share your results. As I mentioned previously, we like to feature the results at the beginning of the case study, rather than buried at the end.
In our Superdrug Online Doctor case study, we summarized the overall results our campaigns achieved over 16 months:
But the happy ending isn’t finished here.
A lot of case studies fail to answer an important question: What impact did the results have on the client’s business? Be sure to tie in how the results you achieved had a bottom-line impact.
In the case of Superdrug Online Doctor, the results from our campaigns lead to a 238% increase in organic traffic. This type of outcome has tangible value for the client.
You can also share secondary benefits in addition to the primary goals the client hired you for.
In the case of our client Busbud, who hired us for SEO-oriented goals, we included examples of secondary results.
Busbud saw positive impacts beyond SEO, though, including the following:Increased blog trafficNew partnerships as a result of more brands reaching out to work with the siteBrand recognition at large industry eventsAn uptick in hiringFeatured as a “best practice” case study at an SEO conference
Similarly, in our Fractl brand marketing case study, which focused on lead generation, we listed all of the additional benefits resulting from our strategy.
How to get the most out of your case studies
You’ve published your case study, now what should you do with it?Build a case study page on your site
Once you’ve created several case studies, I recommend housing them all on the same page. This makes it easy to show off your results in a single snapshot and saves visitors from searching through your blog or clicking on a category tag to find all of your case studies in one place. Make this page easy to find through your site navigation and internal links.
While it probably goes without saying, make sure to optimize this page for search. When we initially created our case study portfolio page, we underestimated its potential to bring in search traffic and assumed it would mostly be accessed from our site navigation. Because of this, we were previously using a generic URL to house our case study portfolio. Since updating the URL from “frac.tl/our-work” to “frac.tl/content-marketing-case-studies,” we’ve jumped from page 2 to the top #1–3 positions for a specific phrase we wanted to rank for (“content marketing case studies”), which attracts highly relevant search traffic.Use case studies as concrete proof in blog posts and off-site content
Case studies can serve as tangible examples that back up your claims. Did you state that creating original content for six months can double your organic traffic? On its own, this assertion may not be believable to some, but a case study showing these results will make your claim credible.
In a post on the Curata blog, my colleague Andrea Lehr used our BuzzStream case study to back up her assertion that in order to attract links, social shares, and traffic, your off-site content should appeal to an audience beyond your target customer. Showing the results this strategy earned for a client gives a lot more weight to her advice.
On the same note, case studies have high linking potential. Not only do they make a credible citation for your own off-site content, they can also be cited by others writing about your service/product vertical. Making industry publishers aware that you publish case studies by reaching out when you’ve released a new case study can lead to links down the road.Repurpose your case studies into multiple content formats
Creating a case study takes a lot of time, but fortunately it can be reused again and again in various applications.Long-form case studies
While a case study featured on your site may only be a few hundred words, creating a more in-depth version is a chance to reveal more details. If you want to get your case study featured on other sites, consider writing a long-form version as a guest post.
Most of the case studies you’ll find on the Moz Blog are extremely detailed:How We Ranked #1 for a High Volume Keyword in Under 3 Months walks through the 8-step process used to achieve the impressive result called out in the headline.The Anatomy of a $97 Million Page: A CRO Case Study offers much greater detail and insights than the case studies featured on the Conversion Wizards site.The Roadmap for Creating Share-Worthy Content with Massive Distribution used one of our campaign case studies to illustrate our overall process for creating shareable widely-shared content.Video
HubSpot has hundreds of case studieson its site, dozens of which also feature supplemental video case studies, such as the one below for Eyeota.
Don’t feel like you have to create flashy videos with impressive production value, even no-frills videos can work. Within its short case study summaries, PR That Converts embeds videos of clients talking about its service. These videos are simple and short, featuring the client speaking to their webcam for a few minutes.
Marketing conferences love case studies. Look on any conference agenda, and you’re sure to notice at least a handful of speaker presentations focused on case studies. If you’re looking to secure more speaking gigs, including case studies in your speaking pitch can give you a leg up over other submissions – after all, your case studies are original data no one else can offer.
My colleague Kelsey Libert centered her MozCon presentation a few years ago around some of our viral campaign case studies.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, many of our leads view the case studies on our site right before contacting us about working together. Once that initial contact is made, we don’t stop showing off our case studies.
We keep a running “best of” list of stats from our case studies, which allows us to quickly pull compelling stats to share in written and verbal conversations. Our pitch and proposal decks feature bite-sized versions of our case studies.
Consider how you can incorporate case studies into various touch points throughout your sales process and make sure the case studies you share align with the industry and goals of whoever you’re speaking with.
I’ve shared a few of my favorite ways to repurpose case studies here but there are at least a dozen other applications, from email marketing to webinars to gated content to printed marketing materials. I even link to our case studies page in my email signature.
My last bit of advice: Don’t expect immediate results. Case studies typically pay off over time. The good news is it’s worth the wait, because case studies retain their value – we’re still seeing leads come in and getting links to case studies we created three or more years ago. By extending their lifespan through repurposing, the case studies you create today can remain an essential part of your marketing strategy for years to come.
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I believe it was last fall when a colleague of mine told me that account-based marketing was “trending” in the digital marketing world. And according to a study done by Sirius Decisions in 2016, she was correct. They found that more than 70% of B2B marketers are ramping up ABM specific programs, with having staff dedicated to account-based marketing. In 2015, only 20% of companies had AMB programs in place.
And according to ITSMA, about 85% of marketers who measure ROI describe account-based marketing as delivering higher returns than any other marketing approach!
Image via Slideshare
Working in customer success at the time, but also having a background in marketing, I was instantly intrigued. A constant issue I’ve seen at different places of employment is the ability to properly align sales, success, and marketing. Could account-based marketing be the magic fix?
Marketing to specific high-value accounts seemed promising, but challenging. How can we really do this effectively over a 40-50 hour work-week? But before pondering this, a critical question must be answered: What exactly is account-based marketing?What Is Account-Based Marketing, or ABM?
Account-based marketing is a strategic marketing strategy where key business accounts are marketed to directly, as units of one (compared to the typical one-to-many approach). In essence, high-value accounts or prospects are identified, key stakeholders in these businesses are targeted, and then marketing strategies are implemented through various channels to appeal to their specific personas and needs. Account-based marketing is like personalized marketing on steroids.
“Account-based marketing focuses on a few large and important accounts or those potential accounts that hold the greatest promise of adding to your bottom line,” says Elyse Flynn Meyer, President and founder of Prism Global Marketing Solutions. “That’s why it’s so critical to have a high-touch and highly targeted message to these individuals, because of their revenue potential and impact to sales and marketing.”Should You Implement Account-Based Marketing?
Now that you’ve learned a bit more about what ABM actually is, you might be wondering if it’s actually worth losing sleep over. One clear reason to pursue account-based marketing is that studies show it appears to be effective in delivering ROI. In fact, research from the Altera group found that 97% of respondents reported that ABM had a somewhat higher or much higher ROI than other marketing campaigns.
But is ABM right for you? While “account-based marketing” is a buzzworthy phrase, it isn’t an optimal strategy for every business. In fact, ABM is typically a B2B marketing approach involving enterprise-level sales organizations with over 1,000 employees.
This is due to the fact that there are usually multiple stakeholders involved in the sale. If your employee count is under 1,000 and you’re not in the B2B sector, this doesn’t necessarily rule your out, but you should consider if it makes sense for your business model and sales/marketing cycles. It might not be realistic to tackle marketing to specific accounts if you’re a small business with limited time and resources for marketing.
If you’re intrigued and want to try pursuing this strategy, you absolutely should! Why? Account-based marketing seeks to kick-off the sales process with higher-value opportunities earlier, get the highest ROI possible from marketing campaigns, as well as align marketing, sales, and account management for longer-term success.
Sounds pretty great, am I right? So while it may seem a bit tricky to implement, once you’ve gotten the strategy down the payoff can be tremendously valuable and well worth the effort invested.
One other thing to mention is that there are ways to automate account-based marketing as long as you have the right data and a system to communicate between sales and marketing. For instance, Terminus is a SaaS platform that gracefully brings together account-based marketing and automation.
For those of you who feel like ABM could yield huge returns for your company, follow these six steps to get things going!6 Steps to Effectively Implement Account-Based Marketing
Account-based marketing is like learning a new language. You’re no longer targeting demographics or personas, but rather specific organizations.
The playing field changes a bit, and it requires a strategic and tactical approach to perfect. Following the below steps will ensure you start off on the right foot with ABM.#1: Define Your Strategic Accounts
Marketers are used to defining personas, but account-based marketing isn’t about distinguishing between “Chatty Cathy” and “Enterprise Eric.” Rather ABM is about marketing to a whole organization rather than an individual. This is a critical distinction, and the starting point to kicking things off on the right foot.
Start your account-based marketing efforts by determining the common makeup of organizations that bring in the largest MRR (monthly recurring revenue) at your organization. For instance, define the industry, company size, location, annual revenue, upsell opportunity, profit margin, etc. for the accounts that are yielding your business the highest long-term profits. Those are the types of accounts you want to go after.
Image via datapine
This process will likely consist of both quantitative and qualitative research. For example, partnering up with strategic leaders, as well as customer-facing employees in your sales and customer success teams to learn from their experiences, while also finding the data you have on hand to support these assumptions. The information you can gather from employees who work on the front-line with prospects and customers is extremely valuable during this process, because who knows your leads and customers better then they do? Having the data to back it up will only ensure you’re heading directly to money-ville.
This step shouldn’t be taken lightly because if you don’t thoroughly define your target, moving onto the next step won’t be feasible.#2: Put Your Investigation Goggles On
Next it’s time to go whale hunting with some strategic thinkers within your sales organization. Once you understand the makeup of the organizations you’re pursuing you need to find the ones that match, and dig in even deeper to determine who the key stakeholders are.
Once you’ve identified some target organizations, learning more about how decisions are made at these target accounts, determining who the decision makers are, and learning more about how decisions are made are the key components to this step. With account-based marketing knowledge really is power. Put your investigation goggles on and learn about the intricate makings of these organizations, and start to strategize on how you can influence the stakeholders at each one.
Some helpful tools to do this can be your own CRM (and the people within your company that have had contact with these organizations in the past), as well as social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook.#3: Create Personalized Content & Messaging
Now it’s time to put your investigational knowledge to use with content that speaks directly to these stakeholders and organizations. You should understand these stakeholders’ specific pain points and appeal to how you can solve them with your messaging and imagery.
Keep in mind that the beauty of account-based marketing is that it’s personalized to these organizations; this is why your content needs to speak specifically to them.
Work together with your design team, as well as sales, to ensure your content is visually engaging, but also communicating the right messages to these key stakeholders. Also check out this Seriously Comprehensive Guide to B2B Content Marketing for some awesome examples of companies that are killing it with B2B content.
#4: Decide on the Best Channels for Your Campaigns
Your research and content will be useless if you’re not promoting your campaigns and creative in the right places. You need to understand where these stakeholders spend their time online, and what their state of mind is when they’re on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
For instance, if you are targeting someone within a graphic design organization, perhaps you know that these individuals spend time on Pinterest from your initial research. Or maybe you’re targeting financial executives, in which you’d be better off showing them targeted Google Display ads on Bloomberg, Market Watch, and Motely Fool.
Facebook and LinkedIn can be powerful platforms to target these stakeholders because you can actually run campaigns to appeal to specific organizations, as well as titles within those organizations. For instance, if I wanted to target Google employees on Facebook, I could do so by using the specific demographic filters of “Work” > “Employers” and then search for Google.
I can then take this to the next level by adding in their specific job title. For example, if I was selling HR software I could target “HR Managers” who work for Google. Pretty cool, huh?
LinkedIn also has powerful ways to help you run account-based campaigns. For more, check out their resources here.
#5: Execute Your Account-Based Campaigns
The hard preparation work has been completed, and it is finally time to actually run your campaign! Hoorah!
However, you shouldn’t just let your content run wild. A few things to keep in mind: Since this method of marketing is so targeted, it’s important to not overwhelm these prospects by bombarding them with repeat messages across multiple channels. Be sure that you aren’t abusing your remarketing powers, and hitting the same people with the same message time and time again.
Also, ensure your channels aren’t set up to just speak to one or two individuals within these organizations. Remember that you’re targeting an organization and the stakeholders within it rather then a single person. You need to strike the right balance of catching your prospect’s attention without turning them off. No one likes to be harassed by a sales person!#6: Measure & Share Your Results
Once your campaign has been running for 30 to 60 days, it is time to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of your account-based marketing efforts. Ask some critical questions like:Did our personalized content prove to be engaging? If so, how? Are these accounts becoming more engaged with your brand? Are you expanding the number of known stakeholders within these organizations? Did you move any of these targeted leads down the funnel? Did you generate any revenue from these campaigns? What could you do better going forward?
If your results are not as great as you predicted the first time around, don’t be discouraged. The best thing about online marketing is how measurable the results are, which helps you see exactly where you need to evolve and improve.
On the other hand, you may find that ABM is yielding huge returns for your business. If so, keep it up!
Want more help with account-based marketing? Check out Marketo’s ABM resources and AdAge’s account-based marketing best practices.About the Author:
Margot is a Content Marketing Specialist at WordStream and nutrition graduate student at Framingham State. She loves all things digital, learning about nutrition, running, traveling, and cooking. Follow her on:
When you think of email marketing, what comes to mind? Monthly customer newsletters, daily blog RSS feeds, curated drip campaigns…
One thing you probably didn’t think of is employee email signatures.
Image via Email Signature Rescue
Your employees engage with customers, vendors, friends, and family via email. With the right call to action in their email signature, any of those email recipients could turn into new website visitors, customers, or social media followers.
Sure, optimizing your employee email signatures will never be as effective as your other email marketing efforts. You shouldn’t expect to add these to your employee signatures and suddenly meet your sales goal for the year, but they will drive real incremental conversions for your business.
And the best part? This is the rare kind of marketing tactic where you can truly set it and forget it.
Here are seven ways you can get more out of your employee email signatures. Choose one, create a version for your company, and share it with your employees.1. Drive Website Traffic
Promoting existing content in your email signature drives more web traffic and social shares. If you’ve got the landing page set up with an email newsletter signup form, it could drive more subscriptions, too.
From a high-converting case study to an infographic that went viral on Twitter, choose content that actually delivers. Coordinate with your content team and review conversion data in Google Analytics to discover what content performs especially well for your business. Then link to it in your signature.
Pro tip: Don’t just say “Read our latest blog/whitepaper/ebook!” Hyperlink intriguing anchor text that compels the reader to click, as Yesware does in this example below:
Alternately, you might use a graphic to advertise the content, as in this example from HubSpot:
2. Increase Your Following
Want to grow your social media fanbase? You’ve got options.
At a minimum, you should link to your main social media channels in your signature. People like to follow brands they work with and buy from. Link using small icons to your social media channels, rather than including long URLs. Icons are cleaner, instantly recognizable, and simply less exhausting to look at, as demonstrated in this example from Mailbird.
If you desperately want follows, you could take a more aggressive route like Limehouse Creative did. There’s a lot of information in their email signature below, but your eye is immediately drawn to the graphic, right? If social follows are most important to your marketing strategy, this is a great option. Otherwise, you might be better off using the banner to advertise a content piece or invite demo registrations.
Image via SmallBusinessSense3. Generate Leads
Speaking of demos, your email signature is a perfect opportunity for your salespeople to generate leads.
Just like realtors, salespeople know the power of faces, so good ones always include a headshot in their signature. The example also includes a “Request a demo” link to make it easy for leads to connect with the sales rep. The only suggestion we have would be to highlight that anchor text in another color or bolded font.
Image via Yesware4. Turn Leads into Customers
Once you’ve got a thread going with a lead, the goal is to push them further down the funnel.
You might take a cue from our first tip, and link your salespeople’s signatures to your top-performing case study. Or you could work with your CRM software to dynamically change your email signatures depending on a lead’s status. For leads that suddenly went cold, or are simply lollygagging, adding a discount offer could be just the thing that wins them over. You can even reuse the banners from your display ads.
Image via WiseStamp5. Promote Upcoming Events
Does your company regularly attend trade shows? Drive traffic your way with a banner announcing your booth number that links to the event registration page. You can also hype upcoming product launch parties, local networking happy hours, webinars, and Facebook Live events. Just make sure you update your signature after the event has passed.
Image via HubSpot6. Build Trust
Even if you don’t want to push your email recipients to take specific action, your email can still passively work in your favor, building trust, credibility, and brand awareness. Here are a few examples of people doing that well.
Lauren Pawell doesn’t have to ask people if they want to work with her. Showing the types of publications and podcasts she’s been featured on gets people to ask her.
Image via FitSmallBusiness
Similarly, author Aaron Ross links to his book page, while noting that it’s a #1 Amazon Bestseller. He kills two birds with one stone in this email signature, both establishing his authority in the space, while also encouraging people to buy his book.
Image via Yesware
If your company has won awards, your email signature is a wonderful place to show them off. It looks like branding, instead of bragging.
Image via Mailbird7. Ask for Reviews
Another great trust signal? Rave reviews and testimonials. Generate a steady supply of these by requesting reviews in your email signature. Even a gentle reminder of “Your Referrals Are Always Welcome!” can help customers remember that their friend was just looking for a service similar to yours.
In the example below, Dr. Brian Fann links “Review Us” text and also includes a social icon for his dental practice’s Google+ page, so there are multiple opportunities for recipients to click and review his business.
Image via Hi5 PracticeBest Practices for Employee Email Signatures
Ready to outfit your employees with stellar email signatures? Follow these best practices to set yourselves up for success.1. Make it Mandatory
Everyone likes to express their individuality, but your corporate email signature is not the place to do it. Tell employees to leave the artistry to their social media profiles.
Having an unified look across all your employee signatures both elevates the professionalism of your brand and avoids the formatting issues, typos, and rogue color and font choices that can happen when you let employees take it into their own hands.2. Provide a Template
Ideally, your IT team can code these across your employees’ email settings. If that’s not possible, supply employees with a plug-and-play template they can copy into the signature settings for your email provider. Clear, easy-to-follow instructions should accompany the template.3. Use UTM Tracking
Track your efforts by adding UTM codes to the links in your email signatures. You can check on your progress in Google Analytics under Acquisition > Campaigns. This also allows you to test different CTAs or types of content over time, or even different placements within the signature (e.g. linking to content above or below your social icons).4. Test the Design on Mobile
We live in a mobile-first world now. Make sure your email signature adheres to that worldview. Nearly half of people read their emails from a mobile device instead of their desktop computer, so test to make sure your design fits and looks good on different smartphones and tablet devices.5. Follow Rules of Good Design
Don’t use too many colors or fonts, and make sure that what you do use complements each other. Consider using pipes or other dividers to break up text and make it readable.
If you don’t have access to a designer, try out HubSpot’s email signature generator. Fill out all your info, choose a design, and voila!
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
With exciting announcements like the most recent Google algorithm upgrade, the latest Snapchat feature, or a new iPhone happening on a near-daily basis, it’s easy for marketers to get shiny ball syndrome. As a result, the lowly email signature is an often overlooked part of marketing strategy. However, implementing any of the above tactics is a simple way to generate a sizable number of wins for your business.About the Author
Michael Quoc is the founder and CEO of Dealspotr, an open social platform connecting emerging brands, lifestyle influencers, and trend-seeking shoppers in exciting new ways. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelquoc.
Posted by MartyMeany
Apple has just launched their latest flagship phones to market and later this year they’ll release their uber-flagship: the iPhone X. The iPhone X is the most expensive iPhone yet, at a cool $999. With so many other smartphones on the market offering similar functionality, it begs the question: Do iPhone users simply spend more money than everyone else?
At Wolfgang Digital, we love a bit of data, so we’ve trawled through a massive dataset of 31 million iPhone and Android sessions to finally answer this question. Of course, we’ve got some actionable nuggets of digital marketing strategy at the end, too!Why am I asking this question?
Way back when, before joining the online marketing world, I sold mobile phones. I couldn’t get my head around why people bought iPhones. They’re more expensive than their Android counterparts, which usually offer the same, if not increased, functionality (though you could argue the latter is subjective).
When I moved into the e-commerce department of the same phone retailer, my team would regularly grab a coffee and share little nuggets of interesting e-commerce trends we’d found. My personal favorite was a tale about Apple users spending more than desktop users. The story I read talked about how a hotel raised prices for people booking while using an Apple device. Even with the increased prices, conversion rates didn’t budge as the hotel raked in extra cash.
I’ve always said this story was anecdotal because I simply never saw the data to back it up. Still, it fascinated me.Finding an answer
Fast forward a few years and I’m sitting in Wolfgang Digital behind the huge dataset that powered our 2017 E-Commerce Benchmark KPI Study. It occurred to me that this data could answer some of the great online questions I’d heard over the years. What better place to start than that tale of Apple users spending more money online than others?
The online world has changed a little since I first asked myself this question, so let’s take a fresh 2017 approach.Do iPhone users spend more than Android users?
When this hypothesis first appeared, people were comparing Mac desktop users and PC desktop users, but the game has changed since then. To give the hypothesis a fresh 2017 look, we’re going to ask whether iPhone users spend more than Android users. Looking through the 31 million sessions on both iOS and Android operating systems, then filtering the data by mobile, it didn’t take long to find the the answer to this question that had followed me around for years. The results were astonishing:
On average, Android users spend $11.54 per transaction. iPhone users, on the other hand, spend a whopping $32.94 per transaction. That means iPhone users will spend almost three times as much as Android users when visiting an e-commerce site.
Slightly smug that I’ve finally answered my question, how do we turn this from being an interesting nugget of information to an actionable insight?What does this mean for digital marketers?
As soon as you read about iPhone users spending three times more than Android users, I’m sure you started thinking about targeting users specifically based on their operating system. If iOS users are spending more money than their Android counterparts, doesn’t it make sense to shift your spend and targeting towards iOS users?
You’re right. In both Facebook and AdWords, you can use this information to your advantage.Targeting operating systems within Facebook
Of the “big two” ad platforms, Facebook offers the most direct form of operating system targeting. When creating your ads, Facebook’s Ad Manager will give you the option to target “All Mobile Devices,” “iOS Devices Only,” or “Android Devices Only.” These options mean you can target those high average order value-generating iPhone users.
Targeting operating systems within AdWords
AdWords will allow you to target operating systems for both Display Campaigns and Video Campaigns. When it comes to Search, you can’t target a specific operating system. You can, however, create an OS-based audience using Google Analytics. Once this audience is built, you can remarket to an iOS audience with “iPhone”-oriented ad texts. Speaking at Wolfgang Essentials this year, Wil Reynolds showed clips of people talking through their decision to click in SERPs. It’s incredible to see people skipping over year-old content before clicking an article that mentions “iPhone.” Why? Because that user has an iPhone. That’s the power of relevancy.
You’ll also be able to optimize and personalize your bids in Search, safe in the knowledge that iPhone users are more likely to spend big than Android users.
There you have it. Don’t let those mad stories you hear pass you by. You might just learn something!
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Posted by Brian_W
On the Wayfair SEO team, we keep track of our non-branded click curves: the average click-through rate (CTR) for each ranking position. This helps us accurately evaluate the potential opportunity of keyword clusters.
Over the last two years, the total share of organic clicks on page one of our e-commerce SERPs has dropped 25% on desktop and 55% on mobile.
For the ad-heavy non-local SERPs that we work in, paid ads are likely now earning nearly the same percentage of clicks as organic results — a staggering change from most of the history of Google.Organic CTR loses 25% of click share on desktop, 55% on mobile
Looking at 2015 vs 2017 data for all keywords ranking organically on the first page, we’ve seen a dramatic change in CTR. Below we’ve normalized our actual CTR on a 1–10 scale, representing a total drop of 25% of click share on desktop and 55% on mobile.
The much larger drop on mobile is particularly relevant because we’ve seen large traffic shifts to mobile over the last two years as well. The overall percentage drop plays out somewhat similarly across the first page of results; however, the top four were most heavily impacted.
About the data
It’s important to note that this type of CTR change is not true for every SERP. This data is only applicable to e-commerce intent search queries, where ads and PLAs are on nearly every query.
We gather the impression, click, and rank data from Search Console. While Search Console data isn’t quantitatively correct, it does appear to be directionally correct for us (if we see clicks double in Search Console, we also see organic Google traffic double in our analytics), site improvements that lead to meaningful CTR gains appear to be reflected in Search Console, we can roughly verify impressions via ad data, and we can confirm the accuracy of rank. For purposes of this data pull, we excluded any keywords that Search Console reported as a non-integer rank (such as ranking 1.2). We have thousands of page one keywords, including many large head terms comprising millions of combined clicks, which gives us a lot of data for each ranking position.
We remove all branded queries from the data, which hugely skews click curves.
It’s important to note that paid ads are not getting all the clicks that organic is not. In addition to the small number of people who click beyond the first page, a surprising number do not click at all. Our best guess is that all ads combined now get about the same percentage of clicks (for our results) as all organic results combined.Why is this happening?
It’s no secret to SEOs who work on transactional keywords why we no longer gain as large a share of clicks for our best rankings. We suspect the primary causes are the following:Ads serving on more queries More ads per query Larger ads, with more space given to each ad Google Shopping (which show up on more queries, list more products per query, and take up more space) Subtler ad labeling, making it less obvious that an ad is an ad
At Wayfair, we’ve seen Google Shopping results appear on more and more search queries over the last year. Using Stat Search Analytics, we can track the growth in queries serving Google Shopping results (modified by search volume to give a qualitative visibility score) across the 25,000 keywords we track daily on mobile and desktop. The overall share of voice of Google Shopping has grown nearly 60% in the last year.
On top of this, we’re often seeing four PPC ads for a typical non-branded commercial term, in addition to the Google Shopping results.
And with the expanded size of ads on mobile, almost none of our queries show anything other than ads without scrolling:
This great image from Edwords shows the steady growth in percent of the desktop page consumed by ads for a query that has only three ad results. We go from seeing five organic results above the scroll, to just one. In more recent years we’ve seen this size growth explode on mobile as well.
At the same time that ads have grown, the labeling of ads has become increasingly subtle. In a 2015 study, Ofcom found that half of adults don’t recognize ads in Google, and about 70% of teenagers didn’t recognize Google ads — and ad labeling has become substantially less obvious since then. For most of its history, Google ads were labeled by a large colored block that was intuitively separate from the non-ad results, though sometimes not visible on monitors with a higher brightness setting.2000 – Shaded background around all ads:
2010 – Shaded background still exists around ads:
2014 – No background; yellow box label next to each ad (and ads take up a lot more space):
2017 – Yellow box changed to green, the same color as the URL it’s next to (and ads take up even more space):
2017 – Green box changed to a thin green outline the same color as the URL:
What to do about it
The good news is that this is impacting everyone in e-commerce equally, and all those search clicks are still happening — in other words, those users haven’t gone away. The growth in the number of searches each year means that you probably aren’t seeing huge losses in organic traffic; instead, it will show as small losses or anemic growth. The bad news is that it will cost you — as well as your competitors — more money to capture the same overall share of search traffic.
A strong search marketing strategy has always involved organic, paid search, and PLA combined. Sites optimizing for all search channels are already well-positioned to capture search traffic regardless of ad changes to the SERPs: if SEO growth slows, then PLA and paid search growth speeds up. As real estate for one channel shrinks, real estate for others grows.
If you haven’t been strongly invested in search ads or PLAs, then the Chinese proverb on the best time to plant a tree applies perfectly:The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.
With a similar percentage of clicks going to paid and organic, your investment in each should be similar (unless, of course, you have some catching up to do with one channel).
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