Online Marketing News: Bird’s Eye View, FTC Skepticism and Facebook for Business



Infographic: Latest Twitter Study Sheds Light on Just How Well Video Is Doing

Based off of Twitter’s annual Online Video Playbook, this infographic shows what’s cleverly referred to as ‘The Bird’s Eye View of Video’ on Twitter. For example, 93% of the video views on Twitter are on mobile. Users who watch video want breaking news, information, and viral content the most, followed by entertainment and celebrity content. AdWeek

The FTC Is Skeptical When Celebrities Are Paid to Like Your Product

The FTC is investigating a few big name brands for bending the rules that govern paid celebrity endorsements. Of course, rules regarding endorsements from celebrities aren’t news to marketers, but the onset of digital marketing did prompt new rules and regulations. The one thing that hasn’t changed? Disclosure. Entrepreneur

Facebook Set to Launch ‘Facebook at Work’ Next Month

Facebook is launching ‘Facebook at Work’ — a private network for your business — in the next three to four weeks. This will allow inter-office communication in a known format for larger, or even smaller, organizations. The network exists separately from personal profiles so there’s not as much temptation to use personal Facebook during work time. Social Media Today

Content Marketing Takes a Turn for the Better: New 2017 Research

MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute paired up to produce their B2B Content Marketing 2017: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends — North America, and the findings are fascinating. Most notably, marketers are more positive about their content marketing efforts than they were in the previous year. Read the full report, it’s full of great information. Content Marketing Institute

Snapchat reveals its $130 Spectacles and rebrands as Snap Inc.

Snapchat revealed Spectacles, a $130 pair of sunglasses with a 115-degree lens camera. According to The Next Web, “content recorded using the glasses is automatically pushed to the Memories section of the Snapchat application in a new circular video format – which can be played full screen in any orientation – via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.” The Next Web


Salesforce, Google, Microsoft, Verizon are all eyeing up a Twitter bid

TechCrunch reports: Twitter continues to inch its way to a sale process, and the latest developments come in the form of alleged bids from potential buyers … we have also independently heard that both Google and Salesforce are interested in buying the company. We have additionally heard that Microsoft and Verizon have also been knocking.” What, if anything, could this mean for Twitter marketing? TechCrunch

Google (finally) launches cross-device retargeting

According to Marketing Land, Brad Bender, VP of display and video advertising at Google revealed breaking news about Google AdWords retargeting: “We’re introducing cross-device remarketing for Google Display Network and DoubleClick Bid Manager to help you reach the same user across devices, apps, and sites.” This means marketers can target the same users, across devices, for a more cohesive experience. MarketingLand

Facebook Allowing Advertisers to Create Rules for Turning Off Ads, Email Alerts

According to recent information submitted to SocialTimes, “Facebook appears to have given advertisers the ability to establish rules to automatically turn off ad or send email alerts once certain criteria are met.” The report comes complete with screenshots for reference, we’ll have to keep an eye out for this developing story. SocialTimes

What were your top online marketing news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more online marketing news! Have something to share? Drop it in a comment or tweet to @Tiffani_Allen or @toprank.

The post Online Marketing News: Bird’s Eye View, FTC Skepticism and Facebook for Business appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

5 Cool Ways to Make Marketing Magic with Interactive Content



On the occasion of the new trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, I was thinking about the fantastical wizarding world of Harry Potter. Who wouldn’t want to live in a world with magical items like pictures that move, newspapers that automatically update themselves, portraits that speak?

Then it hit me: My smartphone can show moving pictures and auto-updated news, and it doesn’t have to be delivered by owl. AND it’s a lot more compact than the average Daily Prophet issue. Sure, we can’t play proper Quidditch yet-someone get Elon Musk on flying broomstick development-but as far as interactive content goes, Muggles have got it on lock.

The point is, content can do a lot more these days than sit on a screen and look pretty. Are your content marketing efforts taking advantage of that fact? Do you invite your readers to participate in an experience? Or are they left doing this?

There are dozens of ways both subtle and flashy that you can add an extra kick to your content. Here are five to get you started, complete with examples to interact with.

#1: Make Data Extra-Relevant

Say you have a big set of data that relates to 12 different verticals within your target audience. You could make a dozen different infographics. You could write a dozen different blog posts. If you were feeling really sadistic, you could mash all the data into one content source and let each vertical search for the relevant info.

Or you could start with a template, let the user pick which data sources they’d like to see, and watch the most relevant info magically fill in. That’s what LinkedIn did, with the help of the wizards at Ceros, for their Where to Find Talent in the United States infographic. Pick your industry at the top, and it fills in the template with customized data.

Interactive Content from LinkedIn

Numbers fly in as you scroll down, delivering exactly the information you were looking for like a Hogwarts owl on a mission. It’s a neat way to make sure each viewer finds exactly what they’re looking for.

#2: Allow for Automated Hyper-Personalization

Checklists are a go-to content type that content marketers use to add a little extra value. It gives your reader a condensed version of your content, all action items, no filler. Readers tend to enjoy checklists, too-they perform well as a gated asset or as a stand-alone.

But you can improve on the humble checklist by making it interactive. Let your audience pick the most relevant points and compile their own list automatically, as in this interactive infographic from Cross Country Home. SnapApp helped the home maintenance company create the infographic, which allows the reader to choose areas of particular concern, then generate a customized to-do list (after ponying up an email address).

Interactive Content from Cross Country Home

The interactivity makes the checklist far more valuable for the reader, and justifies having the end report gated. It also introduces an element of discovery with clicking on each icon-which might lead to readers spending more time with the content.

#3:  Tell Readers Something about Themselves

Let’s face it-we love looking at ourselves, talking about ourselves, taking pictures of ourselves, and learning about ourselves. Don’t chalk that up to millennial narcissism either. Some of the earliest photographs we have are self-portraits (not to mention all the old-school self-portraits from painters and sculptors).

You can capitalize on the joy of self-discovery with quiz-based content. From personality quizzes to identifying your Patronus, quizzes are irresistible. Especially so when they’re about something that matters, like Influitive’s “What’s Your Marketing Personality Type?” quiz.

Interactive Content from Influitive

This quiz gets bonus cool points for not making you click to a new page for every question. SnapApp created a single, linear-scrolling experience that removes obstacles for completion.

Take note of how Influitive presents the results: There’s your marketing type, a description, and then a brief paragraph on skills your type might need to further develop. Right under that-an eBook offer! What a perfectly logical next step.

#4: Present a Ton of Info in a Visually Compelling Way

This next example takes what could have been a blog post or a slideshow, and makes it something that’s a lot more fun to play around with. Even if the information is familiar, or common knowledge, a novel presentation can make it worth a second look.

Designhill created this interactive guide to famous company logos. It presents itself as a seemingly infinite grid, with logos lined up in rows just waiting to be clicked so they can reveal their secrets.

Interactive Content from Designhill

As you scroll and explore, you’ll notice some of the tiles are calls to action: Create a Logo, Get a New Graphic Design, etc. These CTAs are inobtrusive but designed to be spotted after you’ve had fun playing with the content. And if you happen to miss them, there’s a CTA in each of the info pages that pop up when you click a tile.

#5: Bring Together Disparate Elements

No one’s product exists in a vacuum. Unless you sell vacuum bags, and even if you do, that’s not what I meant and you know it. Your target consumer has an entire life outside of their relationship with your product-and many aspects of that life also involve interaction with other products. Interactive content can help you address the larger context of your audience’s lives.

This fantastic Summer of ’66 widget from Asos is a prime example of that kind of synergy-not the bad, buzzword-y kind, but a genuine combination of separate elements to make something groovier than the sum of its parts. Pick your 60’s style, and get music recommendations you can buy on Amazon or iTunes, clothes from Asos, and a Spotify playlist to stream immediately.

Interactive Content from Asos

It’s a triumph of great design, effortless cool, and actual utility, inviting readers to customize an entire experience, not just a look or a sound. I’m just sad the sweepstakes to win that turntable is over.

Expecto Engagement!

In this age of wonders, we don’t have to stick to old Muggle methods of content marketing. Text will always have its place, of course. There’s no substitute for good old-fashioned long-form content. But your audience will appreciate it if you conjure up interactive experiences that enhance your quality content.

What else can interactive content do? What has your team created that dazzled your audience? Let me know in the comments.

Disclosure: LinkedIn Marketing is a TopRank Marketing client. 

The post 5 Cool Ways to Make Marketing Magic with Interactive Content appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

10 Tools to Help Marketers Get More Out of Twitter


Most marketers understand that their Twitter efforts need to go beyond consistent tweeting if they want to grow their following and boost engagement. It takes commitment, strategy and constant management.

But as social networks and audiences continue to evolve-and marketers find themselves juggling more social networks and content responsibilities each day-staying on top of it all can be daunting and even frustrating. In fact, B2B marketers use an average of 6 social media platforms to distribute content, according to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketProfs 2016 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends-North America report.

Sound like you?

Well, the good news is that there are a number of tools that can help you manage your Twitter account, as well as make it easy for you to share, interact and grow your following-and even mine for new content ideas and gain a better understand the impact of your content-so you can make all your effort count.

Whether you want to boost visual content, host a Twitter chat or find relevant followers, below we dive into some of the tools that are worth your consideration if you want to get the most out of your Twitter efforts.

#1 – has long been known as a tool for shortening links, but that’s certainly not its only capability. By signing up for a free account, you can also use the tool to share links to multiple Twitter (and Facebook) accounts and individually track performance of those links-allowing you to quickly share content and get insight into how your audience interacts with that content. In addition, with an enterprise account you can create a branded short domain and get deeper audience analytics.

Bit.Ly as a Twitter Tool

#2 – Hootsuite

Hootsuite has been my go-to social media management tool since my journalism days for a few different reasons:

  • You can post directly to Twitter and other social media pages within the platform.
  • You can schedule out posts, making it easy to post consistently.
  • You can monitor all your feeds, allowing you to instantly interact with those you follow and your own followers.
  • You can track the conversations around specific hashtags or keywords by setting up an individual stream.

With a free account, you can also get access to some basic analytics, content suggestions and the ability to integrate two RSS feeds so you can easily share relevant content from your own blog or other trusted sources. Hootsuite also offers Professional, Team, Business and Enterprise plans that allow you to customize the tool for your own unique needs.

Hootsuite as Twitter Tool

#3 – BuzzSumo

If you’re looking to create better content, discover relevant influencers or both, BuzzSumo could be the tool for you. This little excerpt from their website sums the tool up up nicely:

“BuzzSumo gives you insight into what content is working, and the influencers amplifying it.”

When it comes to hot content, BuzzSumo allows you to instantly search and discover the most shared content within the last day, week, month, six months or year. In addition, you’ll see data for the engagement and shares that content has received across social networks, and the number of linking domains.

BuzzSumo for Twitter Content

To find relevant influencers, the tool allows you to search by username or topic. Some of the insights you’ll find are page authority, domain authority, number of followers, retweet ratio, reply ratio and the average number of retweets.

BuzzSumo for Influencer Research

#4 – Keyhole

With Keyhole you can track hashtags, mentions, keywords, URLs and Twitter accounts in real-time, which can be especially useful for keeping track of the conversation and engagement happening around your company or brand-or even your top competitors.

Below is a sample of the tracking information you’d see for #digitalmarketing. You can see that the data includes the top posts, related topics, recent users, the most influential users, and some analytics.

Keyhole as a Twitter Tool

While Keyhole isn’t free, it offers several different size plans from professional to enterprise-and there’s a free trial option.

# 5 – Periscope

These days, it’s pretty safe to say that all marketers understand that video is an increasingly important marketing tool for capturing audience attention, showing value and encouraging engagement across the digital universe. Using Twitter’s Periscope app, you can natively share live video that is a little more raw and authentic, giving your audience something more visual and compelling to interact with.

Periscope Live Video App for Twitter

#6 – Buffer

Buffer is another fantastic social media management tool that allows you to consistently schedule tweets and other social posts. But one of the big advantages of this tool is that it shares your content at the best possible times throughout the day to maximize exposure.

In addition, Buffer recently added video sharing capabilities, as well as Pablo, which allows you to create beautiful and perfectly sized images.

Buffer for Twitter

#7 – Crowdfire

Crowdfire was originally built to be the answer to the frequently asked question: “Who unfollowed me on Twitter?” But now the tool has “matured into a holistic friend management platform,” according to its website.

The “Copy Followers” is one of the most interesting Crowdfire features, allowing you to search similar users’ followings and “copy them” to the list of people you’re following. The idea here is that they’ll want to follow you, too, since they’re already following someone similar to you or your brand.

Crowdfire for Twitter

Crowdfire also gives you the ability to see who you’re following that is inactive and makes it easy for your to unfollow them. You can also keep track of how the content and updates you share actually affects your follow and unfollow stats. This information can give you a good idea of what types of updates are turning people off and enticing them to follow.

#8 – Twubs

Over the past couple years, Twitter chats have emerged as a marketing tactic that allows brands and marketers to connect with their audience, build awareness and showcase what they have to offer. Twubs is a tool that allows you to find and follow relevant Twitter chats, or even host your own.

Twub for Twitter Chats

Other tools that can help you manage a Twitter chat include:,, Twitterfall and TwChat.

#9 – SocialRank

SocialRank is a tool that can help you better understand and analyze who your most engaged or most influential followers, helping you identify and track important people who you should be engaging with.

The basic account is totally free and gives you the ability to filter and sort your followers, view their full profiles and connect multiple social accounts. There are also Premium and Market Intel versions that offer a host of other features and benefits such as the ability to send a direct message to multiple recipients.

SocialRank Tool for Twitter

#10 – Twitter Analytics

The native analytics dashboard within Twitter is a must-use. It’s free, simple and already built into the platform-you just have to turn it on. The dashboard features detailed overview of all your activity for the past 28 days, including your top tweets, top mentions and top followers.

Twitter Analytics Dashboard

What is your favorite Twitter tool and why? Share it with us in the comments section below.

Email Newsletter

Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the

TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |

10 Tools to Help Marketers Get More Out of Twitter |

The post 10 Tools to Help Marketers Get More Out of Twitter appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

What Social Media Marketers Need to Know About Facebook Live


In the age of Netflix and DVRs, it’s weirdly ironic to watch the growing popularity of live video for social media marketing. Sure, most of it is recorded so you can access it later, but it has far more in common with the nightly news than with modern on-demand, personalized content.

It turns out, there’s something about watching an event unfold live that’s hard to replicate. To be there as it’s happening, in the moment with a group of friends and strangers, sharing a singular experience. It’s powerful. And it never really went out of style-it just took a while for technology to create a compelling modern version.

Facebook Live has realized the potential for live video combined with a social network. Not only are people watching in droves, they’re more engaged: People spend three times longer watching live video than they watch recorded versions after-the-fact.

As with any new channel, it’s always tempting to jump right in and start creating content. And, as always, it’s a better idea to do some evaluating and strategizing first.

Here’s the low-down on Facebook Live: What it is, what it’s for, and how brands are using it.

What Is Facebook Live?

A native live-streaming service embedded in Facebook. When you go Live, the stream will show in your follower’s feeds and on your profile page. Viewers can leave likes and comments in real time. After the event is over, viewers can watch a recorded version with the option of seeing the comment stream as if it were live.

Who’s Doing It?

Everyone from the President to celebrities to athletes.

How Do I Do It?

Right now, the easiest way to go Live is from a mobile device. On the Facebook app for iOS or Android, you’ll see a “Live” button right at the top of the feed. Click that for a quick set up and your feed will begin! There is a version of Live for desktops which is slowly being rolled out-if you don’t have it yet, the mobile version is the only game in town.

What Are the Best Practices?

Facebook’s best practices for Live are a good place to start:

  • Tell followers ahead of time before you broadcast
  • Write a compelling description
  • Make sure you have a strong internet connection
  • Respond to commenters on the air
  • Aim for longer sessions (10-90 minutes)
  • Develop a schedule so viewers know when to tune in

What Pitfalls Should I Look Out For?

Since it’s so easy to go Live, a lot of Live streams right now look the same. They’re talking heads, people holding up a phone and chatting informally with the viewer. If you’re a celebrity with a quick wit, go for it-otherwise, don’t go in without a plan.

It’s an unpredictable platform-you may have to contend with technical issues and an unmoderated comment stream at the same time. It’s a good idea to have at least one person off-camera who can handle the comment stream and work out any glitches.

Finally, don’t expect your entire audience to tune in all at once. Generally viewers drop in and out of live streams-some will arrive late and some will leave early. So a complex narrative that builds on prior knowledge is not the best choice.

Q: What Kind of Content Works Best?

There’s a vast array of content that works for Facebook Live. The most successful take advantage of the special connection the platform affords with an audience, addressing and interacting with them in real time. Here are a few good examples:

  • Behind the Scenes: Dunkin’ Donuts took their followers on a tour of “Dunkin’ Brands University,” a facility where Dunkin’ creates new products. At the end of the tour, audiences got a tutorial on how to make a Dunkin’ Donuts wedding cake. The tour scored just over 30,000 views.The informal, intimate nature of the platform is ideal for these sneak peeks behind the scenes. If your brand doesn’t have a factory to tour, consider a tour of the office space itself-promote transparency and your corporate culture by showing off work spaces and interviewing co-workers.
  • Tips and How-tos: Benefit Cosmetics hosts a weekly show called Tipsy Tricks. A host and guests drink wine, gossip, and offer makeup tips. They respond to viewer comments, and generally offer a mix of practical advice and entertaining banter.Facebook Live works well for how-tos and demos, provided there’s an angle to keep it interesting for the audience. As you prep a how-to, keep an eye out for dead spots in the process that your host will need to fill.
  • Performances: If your brand can swing it, musical or dance performances are a great way to pull in top-of-funnel audiences. Postmodern Jukebox is my favorite for performance video-they livestream parts of every concert they put on, often capturing behind-the-scenes content as well as the concert. But you don’t have to play at that level to stream a performance. Buzzfeed’s interactive dance-off was compelling to viewers because it was an amateur, interactive event.
  • Stunts: If one video captures the pared-down essence of storytelling on Facebook Live, it’s Buzzfeed’s watermelon explosion. At the time it aired, it was the platform’s biggest hit, with well over a million views.The concept couldn’t be simpler: Two Buzzfeed employees, decked out in safety gear, take turns putting rubber bands around a watermelon. The tension builds for 45 minutes until the watermelon finally explodes.On the surface, it seems kind of…dumb, right? But this video was successful because it hit all the right points:
    • Audiences could drop in any time
    • It was immediately obvious what was going on and what was at stake
    • It encouraged audience interaction
    • It built suspense
    • It worked toward a definite endpoint

Granted, the one thing it lacked was an element of utility. But it was undeniably compelling. Add some value for your viewer while checking off the same boxes this video did, and you’ll be unstoppable.

Livestreaming video is still in its infancy. Marketers are still experimenting with the form, with mixed results. One thing’s for sure: As with any channel, it’s all about relevancy, authenticity, and providing something of value to your audience. Put their needs first, and you can develop a strategy for success.

Does your brand plan to jump into livestreaming? Are you already enjoying success with the platform? Let me know in the comments.


Email Newsletter

Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the

TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |

What Social Media Marketers Need to Know About Facebook Live |

The post What Social Media Marketers Need to Know About Facebook Live appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

5 Awesome Takeaways from HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 Report


Today’s consumers are much more self-directed in their buying habits, leveraging the internet and mobile technologies to research, review, interact and buy the products and services they need or want. As a result, many brands and marketers are shifting their marketing tactics to join consumers on their buying journey, rather than interrupting their day with a random cold call or talking at them as they flip through a magazine.

That shift is toward inbound marketing tactics such as blogging, eBooks, whitepapers, social media marketing and dozens of other content marketing tactics-a way of effective marketing that TopRank Marketing is all about. And the growth and importance of inbound marketing is only going to grow, according to HubSpot.

HubSpot-whose CEO Brian Halligan coined the term “inbound marketing”-recently released its eighth annual State of Inbound report, digging into where the “inbound movement” is and where it’s headed. They surveyed more than 4,500 marketing and sales folks from B2B and B2C backgrounds at small- and mid-sized businesses to uncover their challenges, priorities and strategies for the future.

The results? Here’s what Halligan had to say in the opening introduction of the report.

“The world is becoming more inbound. It’s growing more authentic, less interruptive. And with the findings of this year’s report, I think it’s safe to say that over the next ten years we’re going to see an even more inbound world.”

Below I dive into some of the findings that I found interesting, as well as some of the key takeaways that I believe will help marketers evolve their inbound marketing tactics and strategies.

#1 – Sales and marketing alignment is a must.

When it comes to generating more leads and turning those leads into sales, the old adage “two heads are better than one” couldn’t be more true.

Sales and marketing teams that work together have a greater chance of success because it’s easier to track and measure ROI. According to the report, 82% of companies with effective marketing strategies say their sales and marketing teams are tightly aligned.

An easy first step for aligning your teams is to meet regularly. Sales reps are constantly talking to and meeting with current and prospective customers, giving marketers the ability to tap into that knowledge to gain detailed audience insights. They can then use those insights to create content that actually resonate with their audience at all stages of the sales funnel, and ultimately bring in more qualified leads.

#2 – Educating your audience is the key to success.

Prospecting is one of the most difficult parts of a sales person’s job, and it’s even more difficult when they’re talking to prospects who lack knowledge about the company and its products or services. According to the report, sales reps report that prospecting becomes increasingly difficult as the amount of knowledge a prospect has goes down.

What does this mean for marketers? It means that creating quality and informative content not only helps your target audience learn, but it also grows brand awareness-which can help drive more informed leads to your sales team.

Use the knowledge you’ve gained from your sales teams, as well as any data you’ve collected, to create content concepts that will provide your audience with the best possible answer for any of their queries. Consider using a mix of inbound and content marketing that fit with how your audience likes to consume content.

#3 – Having the right measurement tools is critical.

According to the report, generating website traffic and leads, and proving ROI are the two top marketing challenges cited by respondents. With both challenges being metric-based, HubSpot cited the lack of the proper tools as the major driver of these challenges.

At a minimum your website should have Google Analytics-or your preferred analytics tool-installed and tracking. The data collected will help you understand how people are coming to your site and how they’re interacting with your content. In addition, utilize the insights and analytics dashboards on your social pages to gain more insights.

If you’re ready to go a step further, companies such as HubSpot, Marketo and Pardot offer paid marketing analytics and automation tools that can be incredibly helpful.

#4 – Investments in visual content will continue.

Humans are incredibly visual creatures. In fact, research shows that 90% of the information that comes to our brains is visual. So it’s really no surprise that visual content is proving to be more popular and engaging with our audiences-and marketers plan to up their visual game in the coming year.

According to the report, 48% of marketers plan to add YouTube as one of their content distribution channels in the next 12 months. In addition, 39% plan to add Facebook video and 33% plan to add Instagram to their efforts.

While visual content holds many marketing opportunities, don’t feel like you have to do and be everywhere. Choose the types of content and platforms that make the most sense for your business, aligning with where your audience is and what your ultimate business goals are.

With that said, if you’re unsure-feel free to experiment a little bit. But make sure you’re tracking your efforts and results so you can see if it’s a worthwhile investment.

#5 – Growing organic presence is a top priority.

As Google continues to refine its search algorithms and grows its artificial intelligence programs, marketers are constantly fighting to keep and improve their key rankings. So, it’s no surprise that HubSpot found that 66% of marketers say growing SEO and organic presence is their No. 1 priority within their inbound marketing projects.

SEO and organic search should absolutely be a priority for all inbound marketing efforts. But make sure you’re focusing on the right things.

Put your effort behind the on-page aspects that will provide a better user experience, rather than traditional technical tactics like optimizing the metadata of a page. Of course, those technical pieces still hold some relevance to search engines, but focusing on really matters to your audience is how you’ll get the best results.

Check out our post Understanding the Impact of Artificial Intelligence for a closer look at some of the recent changes in search and how to move forward.

Why We Inbound

HubSpot’s report is bursting with more than 100 pages of interesting insights and findings. But one of my favorite takeaways came from Halligan. I think it really sums up why we inbound and content marketers love what we do.

As he so eloquently wrote in the report’s introduction:

“Inbound means transforming how we do business to be more helpful, more human, more empathetic. It focuses on the whole process of turning a stranger into a delighted customer. Inbound is about matching the way you market and sell with the way people actually want to shop and buy.”

Download the full State of Inbound 2016 report.

How will your inbound marketing efforts evolve in the next year? Tell us in the comments section below.

Email Newsletter

Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the

TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |

5 Awesome Takeaways from HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 Report |

The post 5 Awesome Takeaways from HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2016 Report appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Online Marketing News: Emotional Connections, Twitter Goes Long & Better Ad Coalition



How Emotional Connection Increases Customer Satisfaction [Infographic]

Did you know that customers with a higher degree of emotional connection have a higher lifetime value than those that aren’t? And 50% of a person’s perception of an experience is based on emotions? This infographic and supporting statistics help to illustrate the need for marketing messages that truly resonate with your market. ClickZ

Marketers Rejoice: Twitter No Longer Counts Photos, GIFs, Videos Toward 140-Character Limit

It’s official as of Monday, September 19th — Twitter is no longer counting images, gifs, or videos in their 140 character count. This is a big break for social marketers. What’s next for the platform? Eliminating @handles from the character count as well. This change is slowly rolling out to all users but isn’t official platform wide. AdWeek

Google, Facebook, IAB & major brands form Coalition for Better Ads

The consumers have spoken via ad blockers — they don’t want to deal with irrelevant content in ads. To create the standards for good advertising, companies like Google, Facebook, Unilever and more joined forces with the IAB, the 4As and others to form The Coalition for Better Ads. Their top tasks are to create data-driven, consumer based ad standards, deploy technology to implement those standards and encourage awareness and adoption. Marketing Land

Email Open Rates on Mobile Devices by Industry, 2Q16

58% of marketing emails were opened on mobile devices (45% smartphones, 13% tablets) in Q2 of 2016. That’s a 14% increase from the previous year. However, even though only 42% of emails were opened on desktop, desktop-opened emails accounted for 49% of email-generated revenue. MarketingProfs

Instagram Officially Rolling Out Save Draft Feature

There is more great news this week for social media marketers — Instagram is now allowing users to save drafts of their posts when they aren’t quite ready to click the go button. Users can save drafts by clicking the back arrow at the top left of their screen during the filtering and editing steps and selecting ‘save draft’ at the bottom of their screen. SocialTimes


YouTube Gets Its Own Social Network with the Launch of YouTube Community

TechCrunch reports: YouTube announced “the launch of YouTube Community, which allows video creators to better engage viewers using text, GIFs, images and more. The goal with the new features is to help keep creators from departing to competing platforms by offering more tools for connecting with their audience, beyond the videos themselves.” TechCrunch

Everything you need to know about Google’s ‘Possum’ algorithm update

Google has made recent updates that have the SEO community on high alert. Search Engine Land reports: “All the evidence seems to indicate this particular update only impacted ranking in the 3-pack and Local Finder (AKA the local results or Google Maps results). There is talk of another update that happened right after, which impacted organic results.” Search Engine Land

Brands have started using Twitter’s latest customer service tools

Many brands are no stranger to using social media, Twitter in particular, for providing customer service. Recently Twitter has released a new feature, already being used by brands like Delta and T-Mobile, that tells users by a showing users a “Provides Support” button that they can click or tap to start a conversation. Digiday

What were your top news stories this week?

I’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. Can’t wait a whole week? Follow @toprank to get your news fix early.

The post Online Marketing News: Emotional Connections, Twitter Goes Long & Better Ad Coalition appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Where to Learn About Influencer Content Marketing in Europe & the U.S.

influencer content marketing

As a fast growing content marketing agency, especially when it comes to working with influencers, TopRank Marketing has experienced great growth this year working with new clients in the U.S. and abroad.

To continue building awareness of the great work my team has been doing and to share the insights I’ve learned as an active practitioner and strategist, I will be giving keynotes, solo presentations and workshops in 4 different countries over a 60 day period during October and November. Of course I will be joined by an excellent cadre of talented and experienced marketing speakers covering a range of topics, so each event is a great opportunity to learn, network and get inspired for 2017.

Speaking of conferences, if you really want to get the most out of attending an industry conference, I highly recommend this advice. Learning and networking are only two of the top 5 ways to realize ROI from conference expenses, so it’s worth checking out that post to find out what the other 3 are.

DIGITAL 2016 Riga

October 13, 2016

Digital 2016 – Riga, Latvia

This is the biggest Baltic Social Media and Digital Marketing Conference and the event will be my first time in Latvia. The best part is that my longtime pal Rebecca Lieb will be presenting as well as giving a workshop, “The New Marketing Equation”.

Solo presentation: The Power of Influence in Content Marketing

One of the most popular trends in marketing is content marketing, but many companies are challenged to create a variety of engaging content on a consistent basis. This presentation will provide a framework for digital marketers to scale quality content creation by partnering with internal and external influencers.

Attendees of this presentation will learn:

  1. How to identify, qualify and recruit influencers for content programs
  2. An influencer content marketing framework
  3. Best practices for influencer content + SEO, Social and repurposing

Workshop: How to Win at Marketing with Influencer Content Integration

Challenged by information overload, increasing use of ad blocking and limited resources, successful content marketers are partnering with industry influencers to co-create a variety of meaningful content that reaches more relevant audiences with greater credibility. This workshop provides a 6 step influencer content framework ranging from planning to measurement and 3 essential use case scenarios for integrating influencers with brand content marketing programs.

MarketingProfs B2B Forum

October 18-22, 2016

MarketingProfs B2B Forum – Boston, MA

This is one of my all-time favorite B2B marketing conferences. You know when you’re at an event and there is so much resonance with the people, presentations and overall vibe that you find yourself thinking, “These are my people!” That’s MPB2B. I’m looking forward to seeing amazing speakers like Ann Handley and Andrew Davis as well as spending time with our clients like Jason Miller of LinkedIn, Pierre-Loic Assayag of Traackr, Carlos Gil from BMC Software, Amy Higgins from ZOZI and a few more new clients we haven’t announced yet.

Solo Presentation: Sexy Hot B2B Influencer Activation

The art and science of romancing B2B industry influencers to collaborate, co-create and advocate content using leading influencer marketing tools.

This session is for B2B marketers that want to understand how romancing influencers can help scale quality content that is credible, trusted and amplified by contributors to their networks. From establishing an influencer recruiting strategy and outreach to content collection and repurposing to ongoing influencer relationship management and metrics, this session will highlight processes and tools for a successful influencer marketing program.

At the end of this session attendees will be able to:

  1. Begin a workable influencer content and relationship strategy
  2. Understand different types of influencer marketing platforms
  3. Use process and best practices recommendations to engage and activate influencers


November 3, 2016

MarketingProfs Webinar – Online

I only do a few webinars a year and when MarketingProfs asked me to do this one right after the B2B Forum, how could I say no? Plus Allison Dowd is a pleasure to work with.

Presentation: How to Demystify Influencer Marketing with Content

Studies from CMI and MarketingProfs report marketers are challenged to create a variety of engaging content on a consistent basis. At the same time, the rise of ad blocking technology and buyer distrust of brand communications has created significant challenges. How can marketers scale quality content creation while increasing reach and engagement? Influencer content programs tap voices in the industry that buyers trust and aligns with brands to deliver on both thought leadership and customer acquisition goals. While there are many opinions and approaches to influencer marketing, there are three proven approaches B2B marketers can take to satisfy buyers across the sales experience.

Key takeaways from this presentation include:

  • Use cases for influencer content programs
  • How to use a modular approach to influencer micro-content
  • Engage influencers to create 75% or more of your campaign content
  • Develop an influencer community and relationships that scale quality content for marketing

SMXL Milan 2016

November 7-9, 2016

SMXL – Milan, Italy

My longtime search marketing pal Massimo Burgio reached out about this event that, thanks to some generous sponsorship from the likes of Microsoft, was able to fly at least one or more Americans over including Avinash Kaushik and Adam Singer from Google. Adam is TopRank Marketing alumni and it is impressive how well he’s done as an Analytics Advocate at Google.

Keynote: Be the Best Answer: A Strategic Approach to Content Marketing

With billions of internet connected devices, today’s customers can find information just about anywhere, anytime, driving more companies to invest in content marketing. The problem is, consumers are overloaded with information and increasingly numb to brand content. Through best practices and examples, this presentation will illustrate role of content marketing integrated with search, social and influence, so that brands can become the best answer for their customers, without spending the biggest budget.

Content Marketing and Web Editing Conference

November 17, 2016

Congress Content Marketing & Web editor – Utrecht, The Netherlands

This event has a famous “in the round” stage and I’ve always found the Dutch to be a smart and welcoming audience. While I’m in the area, hopefully I’ll get to see Cor Hospes, Tristan Lavender, Bas van den Beld, or AJ Huisman.

Keynote: Be the Best Answer: Content and Influence Integration

Much of content marketing is campaign driven, fragmented and not trusted by audiences. A customer centric approach to content co-created with influencers empathizes with the buyer journey from discovery to engagement to action and positions the brand in a credible way as “the best answer” where and when buyers are looking. But what does a Best Answer strategy look like and where should senior content marketing executives start?

This keynote presentation will provide 4 essential steps for an integrated approach to content that is co-created with influencers, optimized, socialized and publicized in a way that makes brand content more relevant, credible, easy to find and actionable.

If you will be attending these events in Europe, in Boston or Online, be sure to say hello. I hope to see you there!

My 2017 speaking slots are going fast with 6 events scheduled between January and April. If you think I would be a good fit for a conference or workshop you have planned in 2017, please let me know.

Email Newsletter

Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the

TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |

Where to Learn About Influencer Content Marketing in Europe & the U.S. |

The post Where to Learn About Influencer Content Marketing in Europe & the U.S. appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

How Social Do Senior Marketing Executives Need To Be?

Social CMO

Explosive growth of social networks has attracted considerable attention to CEO and executive use of social media. Optimism about executive social media impact has been fueled in part by studies like the BRANDfog survey, which reports executive social participation leads to better leadership, creates more brand transparency and helps build better connections with customers, employees, and investors.

The CMO is one of the most visible people within a company and as a public facing marketing role, there is an expectation that the chief marketing officer will be active on social networks. But how many tweets, likes, shares and snaps is enough?

It is tempting for senior marketing executives to hold themselves up in comparison to professional marketing influencers who spend virtually all of their time keynoting conferences, writing books and being interviewed by the media – aka individuals as brands, or as I like to call them, “brandividuals”.

A review of the latest list of the most influential CMOs will reveal a number of executives that have been able to achieve a unicorn-like duality of maintaining their organizational responsibilities as well as an active social media presence like Beth Comstock from GE or Jonathan Mildenhall from Airbnb. But that is certainly not the norm.

In fact, only 49 of Marketing Magazine’s Power 100 have a Twitter account and many of them post infrequently or simply RT others’ tweets.   

Clearly, many senior marketing executives and CMOs are still working out what an appropriate level of social engagement looks like. To help provide perspective, I reached out to several senior executives for their views on a basic question, “Should senior marketing executives be active on social networks?”

jeremy thompson

The CEO:

“It’s crucial to be aware of social trends and influencers, so I would always encourage my team to be active on social media. Our clients are PR and comms professionals and it’s their job to amplify messaging and engage with target audiences – a lot of which is done on social, so we all need to be part of that conversation. What’s more, analysis of these engagements is the core of what we do. This helps our clients prove their worth and provides actionable insight into their PR strategy. So in short – absolutely yes.”

Jeremy Thompson @JeremyCThompson

CEO EMEA at Cision / PR Newswire

will mcinnes

The CMO:

“The strongest senior execs track their social pulse every day because it’s the freshest, fastest way to keep up with the voice of their customer. The weakest? Well, their assistants are still printing their emails!  No one expects a senior exec to be on every platform, every day. But any wise person knows the value of walking the floor, of understanding the terrain, and of being able to speak from the confidence of doing, not just knowing. So every decent senior exec has to have some social experience themselves. It’s finding what works best for them and their business that matters.”

Will McInnes @willmcinnes

CMO at Brandwatch

john watton

The Marketing Director:

“Yes. It’s not only a golden opportunity to get familiar with the tools your own customers are using, it’s also an easy way to ensure you don’t become a digital dinosaur, which can happen to anyone. Quickly. Going one step further, I would also question any marketer who lacks the curiosity to at least try out social. It’s all about having a growth mindset. Curiosity leads to experimentation which leads to innovation. Without which, brands may stagnate and fall behind their competitors.”

John Watton @jwatton

Marketing Director, at Adobe

stephen waddington

The Agency:

“I’ll cite three reasons:

1. If you believe as I do, that the future of organizational communication is social, then as a business leader you need to become confident and conversant in the social web.  

  1. You can’t begin to understand the social web unless you participate. It isn’t a spectator support. Doing is the most authentic form of sales. Show rather than tell.   
  2. Finally, executives that are active on social media, benefit from the profile and network benefits of creating their own media and networks.”

Stephen Waddington @wadds

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer at Ketchum

3 Essential Guidelines for CMO Social Media Success:

It’s pretty clear from all executive perspectives surveyed, that a commitment to being active on social networks is imperative, if not a practical function of marketing leadership. If faced with some uncertainty about how to find the right balance, CMOs and senior marketing executives can follow these three guidelines for meaningful and manageable social media success.

  1. Set a goal: Be specific – There are myriad possibilities with social media but even the thought of that can paralyze one’s effort to start. Begin with a singular goal. What is one thing you hope to accomplish by being visible and connected on the social web? Focus on that one thing and even go so far as to make a goal statement articulating what you hope to accomplish and how you plan to achieve it. The goal might simply be to reinforce your thought leadership on a specific topic or it might be to make yourself available to customers, prospects and the media. Just decide and commit.
  1. Curate: Be useful. Leverage a social monitoring tool like BuzzSumo, the search feature on Twitter or your normal digital news sources to find interesting articles, posts, videos and other kinds of content to share with your social network. Add some of your perspective to curated information that consistently follows the theme that supports your goal. Share your own content as well. Become the “best answer” for what it is you want to be known for by building thought leadership with useful curation plus insight.
  1. Interact and instigate: Be engaging. Much of social media’s value is in engagement and exchanges of ideas with your community. Use a social media listening tool to surface mentions of your name, brand and social content. Interact, show appreciation for the behaviors and messages that align with your goal. Ask your community questions that would lead to discussion and conversation around topics that can lead to your messaging and social media goals. Listen for questions being asked where your helpful answer can help lead that person to a positive experience.

Being specific in your goal, sharing useful content from other sources as well as from your brand and engaging with your community are three of the fundamental things a senior executive can do on social networks.

Make these core activities part of a process and a daily habit. Identify the tools you’ll need and set up alerts so you can spend a small, consistent amount of time building your social presence on a regular basis. With a little planning and tools, you can accomplish important visibility, thought leadership and customer engagement goals in just a few minutes a day.  

This article originally appeared on

Email Newsletter

Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the

TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |

How Social Do Senior Marketing Executives Need To Be? |

The post How Social Do Senior Marketing Executives Need To Be? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

A Fresh Start: Learn How to Put Your Social Media Strategy on A Paleo Diet


From the rise of Snapchat to the debut of Instagram stories to changes in Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, the social media landscape is constantly changing-giving us marketers more than enough “new” to snack on each week.

But sometimes we bite off a little more than we can chew, thinking that a healthy social media strategy needs to incorporate a little bit of everything in order to drive growth and engagement-and ultimately ROI.

However, according to Social Media Examiner’s 2016 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 92% of marketers said they’re unable to say which social media tactics are the most effective. So, stretching your strategy to include every platform and tactic may not be the best way to drive the results you’re looking for.

The key is to create a strategy that balances your unique business goals and your audience’s needs-sort of like crafting a healthy diet. I’m not talking about a temporary restriction plan that promises 50 lbs of weight loss by eating three cookies a day. I’m talking about habitual nourishment–something that doesn’t involve quick fixes, but rather getting back to the good stuff that helps you survive and thrive.

With all that said, below we show you how to put your social media strategy on a paleo diet, cutting out the things that lack nourishment and adding in the building blocks of healthy growth and engagement.

#1 – Create a shopping list.

Anyone embarking on a paleo diet needs to make sure they have all the right ingredients to set them up for success when crafting meals. Similarly, your social media strategy needs to have the right objectives in place to guide your strategy.

Whether you want to increase your number of followers, boost referral traffic to your website, foster engagement or drive more conversions, set goals that you can measure. Be aggressive, but not unrealistic. Social media is first and foremost a brand awareness tool, so make sure you’re using it for the right reasons.

Set benchmark goals so you can measure the impact your efforts are having as you work toward larger goals. Put more effort behind what is working and look for ways to improve the tactics that aren’t.

#2 – Prep your meals.

Meal prep and planning is essential for staying on track for any diet.

Craft a strategy that encompasses the tactical elements that will propel you toward the goals you’ve set. Get started by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What should my followers know about my brand? (What niche do I serve?)
  • What are my customers’ pain points?
  • How can I provide something of value? How can I empathize with my audience?
  • What type of content does my audience consume on social? (Typically, How-to and List posts are wildly successful.)
  • What social platforms should I be a part of? (Where is my target audience? Do I need to be on every platform?)
  • What tools would help me manage my networks or help me create better content? (e.g., Hootsuite for page management or BuzzSumo for mining for trending topics or industry influencers for content.)
  • How will I measure results? (Engagement metrics? Social traffic to the website?)

With the answers to these questions in hand, create a social media content plan that outlines what, when and where you’ll be posting, as well as who is responsible for engaging with followers and measuring impact.

#3 – Eat the rainbow.

The perfect paleo meal will include a variety of proteins, fruits and veggies to create a colorful plate combination of whole foods.

When it comes to your social media strategy, using an integrated approach that’s tailored to each social platform will give your strategy the appetizing color it needs.

Combine your social media strategy with your other digital and content marketing efforts to create a tactical mix that speaks to your audience. Some tactics that you could include are influencer content, video and live chats.

As mentioned in the intro, you don’t need to use every single marketing tactic nor be on every single social media platform. Choose what works for your business and helps you make meaningful connections with your audience.

#4 – Listen to your body.

We’ve all made a quick trip through a drive thru to satisfy hunger or cravings. The naughty stuff just tastes so good. But soon after our bodies will often tell us we’re missing something-whether that be through hunger pangs an hour later, restless sleep or low energy.

When it comes to social media strategy, your audience is your body. If you want to find success, you need to be listening to what they’re telling you.

Start by taking a peek at your engagement metrics to see what kind of content is resonating with them most. This will help you work that type of content into your plan. In addition, consider asking them questions to foster engagement. One of the best ways to find out what your audience is thinking is to simply ask.

#5 – Cut the cheese.

For most paleo enthusiasts, dairy is a no-no. One reason is that lactose, which is an element found in milk and cheese, doesn’t sit well with many people.

So when it comes to your social media strategy, cut the cheese. Don’t leave your audience with an uneasy feeling by sharing things that stink. Be creative and engaging.

#6 – Stop counting calories.

You can certainly count calories all day long, but if your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, your progress will slow and frustration will set in.

When it comes to your social efforts, make sure you’re tracking and measuring the right metrics. Go beyond high-level metrics. Dive deeper into the data to see how people are actually interacting with your social content.

For example, don’t just look at overall social referral traffic to gauge success. Use Google Analytics or your preferred analytics tool to uncover how much referral traffic each social platform is sending to your website, top page, time on page and average number of pages visited, and conversions. This will lend more context to the traffic you’re receiving and help you draw conclusions about whether your not your efforts are driving the results you’re looking for.

#7 – No cheating.

This one’s a no-brainer. If you want the best results-for your body or your social strategy-you can’t cut corners.

Use the strategy and the content plan you’ve created to hold you and your team accountable from development to implementation to data analysis to fine-tuning–and beyond. Set up a standing meeting–whether that be daily, weekly or monthly–where the entire team comes together to look at progress and brainstorm ideas to keep your strategy on track.

What changes have you recently made to your social media strategy’s diet? What’s working and what isn’t? Tell us in the comments section below.

Email Newsletter

Gain a competitive advantage by subscribing to the

TopRank® Online Marketing Newsletter.

© Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®, 2016. |

A Fresh Start: Learn How to Put Your Social Media Strategy on A Paleo Diet |

The post A Fresh Start: Learn How to Put Your Social Media Strategy on A Paleo Diet appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Online Marketing News: Social Changing SEO, Science of Content, Facebook Live on Desktop



How Mobile, Voice & Social Are Changing SEO [Infographic]

With SEO being a growing area of investment and interest for digital marketers, we tend to keep a very close eye on any changes that may affect organic search visibility. So how are mobile, voice and social changing SEO? HubSpot’s latest infographic, based on their State of Inbound Marketing report, has the details. HubSpot

The Science of Content: TFM Research Report On Content Across 10 Industries

Technology for Marketing just released a new study of content that resonates across 10 different industries. The report found, among other things, that understanding your specific industry and audience is the key to successful content. This means knowing what type of content they like best, the best time to post, and even what headline words will get their attention. Buzzsumo

Is Facebook Live Coming Soon to Desktop?

What originally rolled out for only mobile may now slowly be rolling out for Desktop — Facebook Live. Users have reported the added functionality this week, with the biggest reported difference being the addition of a comment bar for the broadcaster. It was also reported that screen sharing wasn’t available but the interface resembled a Google Hangout. Search Engine Journal

Twitter’s new, longer tweets are coming September 19th

Social media marketers, rejoice! The Verge reports that Twitter’s long rumored exclusion of links and images from their character counts is happening on Monday. This will also include videos and user polls along with user names at the beginning of replies. The Verge

A Snapshot of the World’s Ad Spend

Direct Marketing News reports: “Global advertising spend is projected to reach $548.2 billion by the end of this year-a 4.4% (or $23 billion) increase compared to 2015, according to a recent report by Carat. The global media network expects this figure to rise to $570.4 billion (a 4% year-on-year increase) in 2017.” Direct Marketing News

Which Marketing Channels Have the Best ROI Measurability?

Marketing executives surveyed by Millward Brown are saying that two marketing channels are easiest to measure in terms of ROI — email and search, with online ads coming in third. MarketingProfs also reports that nearly “74% of executives say they would increase spend on digital channels if it were easier to track ROI; 71% say they would increase cross-channel spend if ROI measurement were easier.” MarketingProfs


Ad Tech Companies Are Testing New Formats Like Virtual Reality and 360 Video

Brands like Jack in the Box, AOL, The New York Times and Vice are experimenting with virtual reality, and are reportedly happy with the results they’re seeing. With video becoming increasingly effective as a tool for marketers, 360 video and virtual reality are adding a new, immersive dimension that may prove to captivate viewers in new ways. AdWeek

Many Visitors Abandon Mobile Sites If Load Time Tops 3 Seconds

MediaPost reports: “Google’s latest study – The Need for Mobile Speed – found 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. One out of two people expect a page to load in less than 2 seconds. The data is based on analysis of more than 10,000 mobile Web domains.” Is your website up to speed? MediaPost

Snapchat Has Nearly All the 18-to-25-Year-Olds It Will Get, but Older Users Still Joining

Smartphone users are spending 87% of their screen time in mobile apps. While there are some apps that are used the most frequently, like Facebook and Pandora, Snapchat has seen the most growth with up to 55% of users app time, beating out Pinterest for the number 13 spot. While the Millennial market may be fully saturated, ComScore indicated they still have a large opportunity with the 35 and older market. Ad Age

What were your top online marketing news stories this week? 

I’ll be back with more news next week! Have something to share? Share your thoughts with me in the comments or tweet them to @toprank!

The post Online Marketing News: Social Changing SEO, Science of Content, Facebook Live on Desktop appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.