10 Infographics to Guide Your Content Marketing Strategy

Your brain can identify and retain details of an image in 13 milliseconds. That’s less than a 20th of the time it takes to blink your eyes. So it’s no surprise that visual content is on the rise as attention spans shrink. If you could choose between a consumer spending 20 seconds with a wall of text or 20 seconds with an image, it makes sense to go with the latter.

In other words, people like looking at stuff. As such, infographics are rapidly becoming an essential component of a solid content marketing strategy. Free tools like Canva and Pixlr make it easier than ever to turn your data into compelling visual content.

The best infographics give equal weight to both parts of the word they combine essential info with stellar graphic design. I could write a whole blog post about how great infographics can be. But, of course, that would defeat the purpose.

Instead, let’s look at ten great infographics with a meta twist: They’re content marketing assets about content marketing! These examples can inspire your own infographic creation while they inform your strategy.

#1: How to Socialize a Blog Post

Creating great content is less than half the battle for marketers. You should spend roughly 20% of your effort creating, and 80% in promotion. What good is awesome content if no one sees it? This colorful gem from DigitalMarketer efficiently illustrates how to make sure your content reaches your target audience. You’ll learn how to create assets that help promote the piece, make your shares trackable, and analyze your results to do it even better next time.

#2: The Top 8 B2B Customer Marketing Trends to Watch Out for in 2017

This piece from Digital Marketing Philippines (via the good folks at HubSpot) really puts the info in infographic. It’s a good example of just how much data you can pack into a visual asset while still keeping it easily-digestible. The bright colors, solid organization, and statistic call-outs grab attention, while the text provides plenty of value to keep people reading.

#3: What Does It Take to Make a Piece of Content?

Dive into this cool blue infographic for an insider look at how content powerhouse Contently goes from strategy to creation to distribution. This piece is a great counter-example to the design-heavy look of the previous entry on the list. It relies on simple line art to create a cooking metaphor that provides visual interest without overpowering the text. A soupcon of highlighted statistics help make the case for the solid advice they’re presenting.

#4: The Ultimate Content Marketing Strategy

There are plenty of resources out there that explain the Big Rock content marketing strategy, but this Curata infographic gets points for thoroughness and nifty graphical interest. Learn how to create a gated asset, slice it into top-of-funnel ungated content that feeds back to the gated asset, then dice it into even smaller gems to share on social media. One nifty trick to steal for your next long infographic: The progress bar at the top that shows exactly how far you’ve read and how far you have left to go.

#5: A Brief History of Content Marketing

Who better to give a primer on the 200+ year history of content marketing than the Godfather himself, Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute? This timeline serves as a reminder that quality content can help build a business, from John Deere’s The Furrow to the Michelin Guide to the Will It Blend? Videos. Wrapped in Joe’s signature orange, this bite-sized history lesson is well worth a read.

#6: 10 Visual Marketing Statistics for 2017

This infographic collects results from a Venngage survey of over 300 digital marketers. It’s a great resource for seeing how the industry is moving toward visual content, and what types of visual content are leading the pack. Compare your progress to the results here, or use it to inspire your strategy, or just enjoy the pink-and-purple visuals.

#7: The Ins & Outs of Awesome Infographics

Fans of marketing, infographics, and pentagons will enjoy this groovy piece from IBM. The simple, clean design work complements the solid advice on offer about how to create memorable visual content. Learn how to choose the right visuals for your data, pick the right layout, and avoid common mistakes.

#8: What Buyers Really Want from Content Marketers

The team at Uberflip demonstrates a lesson well worth learning in this piece: Not every infographic has to be six screens tall. They manage to pack a wealth of data into a fairly small space, distilling the message into something that gets the value across without spraining your scrolling finger. Find out what buyers want marketers to do, and not do, to create content that really resonates.

#9: The Importance of Visual Content

You don’t have to have a team of researchers and designers to create a solid infographic. This piece from kwikturn media is a good example of doing more with less. It’s essentially a stats blog post, compiled from sources around the internet. Add some thoughtful but simple clip art, a slate background, and it’s far more interesting than a text list would be.

#10: The Secret to Creating Scalable, Quality Content and Better CX

Static infographics have more visual interest than text does. But you can take it a step further with an animated, interactive infographic. Some people call these gifographics. Those people are wrong. But whatever you call them, they’re undeniably cool. We created this interactive piece on the Ceros platform.

Infographics are an indispensable part of a modern content marketing strategy. Use them to highlight data points from your gated content, replace a list-based blog post, or just to brighten up a how-to post. Just keep the design simple and clean, and the text informative and valuable.

Seen any cool infographics lately? Let me know in the comments.

And if you need help creating your own infographics, check out our content marketing services.


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Report: Social Media Examiner 2017 State of Social Media Marketing

The past 12 months have been big for social media marketers. Each social platform has seen significant changes or upgrades creating opportunity, and adding complexity for many marketers.

Facebook introduced live video, Twitter made it easier to fit your message in 140 characters, Snapchat added collaboration features and Pinterest launchedpromoted video.

The question on many marketers minds is: what has truly changed in the way that B2B and B2C marketers approach social media marketing? The new Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner takes a deep dive into the current state of social media on a granular level.

But how does social media marketing effort and success differ between B2B and B2C brands? Find out below.

Both B2B & B2C Marketers Struggle with Social Media Measurement

According to the study, only 38% of marketers believe that they are able to measure their social activities. This is a decline from 2016 and 2015. Additionally, only 34% of marketers believe that their Facebook marketing is effective.

Varying Benefits of Social Media Marketing

What’s working? Well for most B2B and B2C brands, increased exposure and increased traffic rank high on the list. However, when it comes to developing loyal fans, that’s where the numbers start to differ.

72% of B2C marketers versus 64% of B2B marketers were able to develop a loyal fan base through social media marketing.

However, 64% of B2B marketers versus 54% of B2C marketers were able to gain thought leadership through social media marketing.

Top Used Social Media Marketing Platforms

It’s no surprise that the largest social networking platform in the world is the top used platform for both B2B and B2C marketers. Since 2016, Facebook usage increased 1% while Twitter usage declined 8%.

Overall, B2B marketers are investing more in platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest while B2B marketers focus on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

In past years, LinkedIn was the top contender for B2B brands but has since taken second place to LinkedIn (43% versus 37%)

Facebook Rules Paid Social Media

When it comes to paid social, Facebook is the clear frontrunner. The majority (93%) of marketers use Facebook ads, up 6% from 2016.

B2C marketers are using Facebook ads slightly more than their B2B counterparts (95% to 87%) but it’s close! However, the gap begins to widen when you begin assessing paid social ad usage on LinkedIn. While 29% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn ads, only 10% of B2C marketers invest on the platform.

Are Marketers Really Using Snapchat?

It’s no secret that Snapchat usage has soared over the past year. With over 161 million daily users, it’s clear that consumers (especially millennials) have taken to the platform.

In the next year, 23% of marketers plan on increasing their Snapchat activities to meet that demand. However, only 8% of marketers have actually increased their posting frequency in the past 12 months.

Common Content Types

The type of content that social media marketers post has seen a significant change in the past year. While visual images and blogging reign supreme, live video has made a jump from 28% from 14% in just one year.

The study also found that B2B marketers are more likely to use blogging than B2C marketers (75% versus 61%) and B2C marketers are more likely to use video (30% versus 24%).

What Does the Future Hold for B2B & B2C Marketers?

In some ways, B2B and B2C marketers are on-pace. In others, their approaches are wildly different. As the market becomes more saturated and it becomes harder and harder for brands to stand out, what steps should social media marketers take to catch the attention of their audience?

If you’d like to read the full report, visit Social Media Examiner.


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Master LinkedIn’s New Lead Generation Forms in 10 Easy Steps

[Editor’s Note:This is the first post from one of the newer members of our team, Emily Hinderaker. Emily joined TopRank Marketing earlier this year as a Marketing Copywriter.]

The one item that marketers crave above everything else is information about their prospects. Often, there is even a dollar amount assigned to gaining access to a name, email or phone number. In a time where this information is highly coveted, what is one thing marketers can do to make it easy for prospects to convert?

The answer, targeted, compelling, one-click conversions.

According to Stephen Slater, Digital Advertising Manager at TopRank Marketing here’s why:

Lead generation form ads encourage the impulse buy. With one click, you can gain access to prospect information in a way that required little time or effort on their end. The beauty of this approach for advertisers is that you can show your ads to the right audience and receive one click conversions.

Paid social presents a great opportunity for one-click conversions because you’re putting yourself where you audience is already spending time. And thanks to LinkedIn’s new Lead Generation Forms the opportunity just got a lot sweeter.

LinkedIn’s Lead Generation Forms allows advertisers to get even more high-quality leads by automatically filling in customized forms with accurate profile data. You can track campaign CPL, form fill rate, and even segment audience data by profession to get a better understanding of ad performance.

This new tool makes it easier for customers to engage, and saves time by pre-filling information. With this feature, you won’t lose leads due to an exhaustive form. Another benefit is that you also have the ability to download your leads and integrate with your marketing automation or CRM software for more organized, accurate and documented lead information.

Here’s a quick video from LinkedIn showcasing the features of this tool:

If you’re ready to get started, we’ve included a helpful ten step guide below to help you create your own Lead Generation Form ad.

#1 Choose The Ad Type

Depending on your business objectives, you will want to select the ad type that will help you meet your goals. Advertisers can select Sponsored Content, Text Ads or Sponsored InMail for their ads.

#2 Select Your Language & Preferences

Enter a campaign name that’s relevant for the campaign and then select the language of your content and what you’d like to happen after someone clicks your ad. Then click Next > to proceed with the Lead Generation Forms.

#3 Choose Update(s) You’d Like to Sponsor

There are a couple options to get started. Option one is to select existing content that will appear as Sponsored Content and will be shown in newsfeeds. or create a new post to promote. The second option is to choose Direct Sponsored Content, which will send customized messages to your audience segments (you’ll need Company Page Admin permission).

#4 Create New Form Template

If you haven’t already, you’ll need to create a form template that describes your offer. Simply enter your offer headline and offer deal. Take the time to ensure that your headline and offer are compelling and speak to the needs of your target audience.

#5 Identify What User Information You Want

Depending on what information your team has determined is most beneficial for your campaign, select up to seven pieces of data you’d like to collect from each prospect.

#6 Create A Customized Thank You Message

You can also determine what message your prospects see after submitting their form. This is a great opportunity to redirect the user to your company website for more information.

#7 Define the Call-To-Action

Depending on your goal, you may want a prospect to sign up, download or request more information. Make sure that your CTA properly aligns with your ad message.

#8 Choose Audience Targeting

In order for an ad on LinkedIn to be effective, you must target your audience appropriately based on your message. You can select everything from locations and industries to specific job titles and even fields of study or skills.

#9 Choose Your Budget and Start Date

You can choose to either pay when someone clicks on your ad, or pay based on the number of impressions. LinkedIn will also recommend a bidding strategy based on what other advertisers are doing. Typically, it will be best to start out by using LinkedIn’s recommended bid but you should optimize once you see which ads are performing best.

#10 Review & Optimize

Keep a close eye on the performance of your ads and form completion to identify what is working best, and which ads to pause. That way you can optimize ad performance to increase results.

Test LinkedIn’s New Lead Generation Features

As you can see, LinkedIn’s new Lead Generation Forms offer a way to make it easier for targeted audiences to convert based on your offer. By removing a barrier, these one-click conversions can help fill your customer database and encourage participation from targeted audiences.

Interested in trying Lead Gen Forms? Click here to get started.

Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.


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Digital Marketing News: State of Content, Direct Ads on Twitter & Google Attribution

Content Marketing Stats: The State of Content Marketing in 2017 [Infographic]

This infographic from our friends at MarketingProfs uncovers top content trends for B2B and B2C marketers in 2017. You’ll find insights on everything from top channels to budgeting and content goals. (MarketingProfs)

Twitter is Offering Advertisers More Tools to Engage Consumers With Direct Messages

Twitter’s new Direct Message Cards that can include as many as four CTA buttons that will send users to specific content. The cards can also be used in organic tweets and are designed to encourage one-on-one conversations, making it easier for brands to connect with their audience. (AdWeek)

Hello Google Attribution, Goodbye Last-Click

Marketers around the world are rejoicing after the announcement of the new Google Attribution tool. While the tool is still in beta, marketers will soon be able to measure performance across devices and channels all in one place, for no additional cost. That means that marketers will soon have a better understanding of what marketing tactics are most effective at moving prospects through the customer journey. (Google Adwords Blog)

Introducing Location and Hashtag Stories on Explore

For users interested in what’s going on around them, Instagram now displays stories happening based on your location. Additionally, users can also search interest based hashtags to find groups of stories related to that specific topic. (Instagram Blog)

Snapchat Adds Collaborative Stories, Which Could Help Boost Exposure Through the App

Story collaboration on Snapchat just got a whole lot easier. Snapchat’s new custom stories features lets users invite other people to contribute to a story without having to host a takeover. The stories will remain on the Stories page until no one has added for 24 hours, or the creator deletes it. (Social Media Today)

Bing Launches Bots for Local Businesses

Microsoft has started integrating chatbots into search results to make search more interactive. For now, this feature is only available to restaurants but Microsoft envisions rolling these bots out broadly in the future. The bots will answer common customer questions, be available across multiple channels and requires virtually no technical requirements from business owners. (Search Engine Land)

Promoted Video Gets Even Better on Pinterest

Pinterest introduced promoted videos less than a year ago, and are already releasing three big enhancements. They have added an autoplay feature, better accessibility to video content (search and feeds) and improved reporting through a new partnership. (Pinterest Business Blog)

Google is Speeding Up Search Ads With AMP Technology

Google is speeding up AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for search in two different ways: a new beta where advertisers can use AMP pages as landing pages and the entire Google Display Network is getting hit with AMP technology. (Search Engine Journal)

What Were Your Favorite News Stories This Week?

Thanks for watching and reading our weekly news roundup. Please feel free to share your favorite stories of the week in the comments below or send us a message on Twitter to @toprank.


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How to Inspire Your B2B Audience with Killer Content Marketing

B2B content marketers: It’s time to get over our inferiority complex.

Yes, the B2C folks are over there marketing cool stuff like basketball shoes and energy drinks, while we’re stuck with cloud software solutions and medical imaging machinery.

Yes, we’re marketing to business professionals on a buying committee that has to commit to million-dollar deals. Which would buy a lot of basketball shoes and energy drinks.

But that does not mean B2C has more fun. It doesn’t mean B2B is boring. It doesn’t mean we have to play it safe.

Can B2B content be as compelling, as emotional, as vibrant-let’s face it-as cool as B2C?

As we say in Minnesota, yabetcha.

Not only can our content be all these things, it should be. We’re not marketing to robotic cogs in a corporate machine. We’re trying to have a conversation with actual human beings.

Make sure you’re a worthy conversational partner by following these tips:

#1: Don’t Skimp on Personality

It’s hard to create truly dynamic content when you’re stuck behind a brand faade. Corporations may or may not be people, but content that looks like it was written by committee rarely has that human spark.

Your content should bring out the people behind the brand. Don’t leave authenticity and transparency in your mission statement; show it in what you write.One of my favorite marketers for showing personality is Buffer’s Kevan Lee. Kevan isn’t afraid to show the whole gamut of human emotion on the Buffer blog, from taking pride in accomplishments to acknowledging failure. His post,We’ve Lost Nearly Half Our Social Referral Traffic in the Last 12 Months, is brutally honest but optimistic at the same time. Kevan pulls no punches in describing how Buffer’s traffic has fallen off, admitting he’s not sure why, and offering readers a chance to follow along as he learns.

A post like that not only helps build rapport, it’s valuable to every member of Kevan’s audience that is experiencing a similar dropoff. The result of Kevan’s unfiltered sharing? 3.8 thousand shares and over 418 comments on just that one post. It’s powerful stuff.

#2: Bring Your Data to Life

Most marketers are familiar with Volvo Trucks’ Split commercial. It’s the one that features aging action star Jean-Claude Van Damme showing off his superpowers:

What’s often overlooked is that this video is B2B marketing. Volvo Trucks sells big rigs to businesses. That’s what this video is all about. While those not in the target audience see a cool stunt, truck drivers see amazing precision in handling, even while the trucks are in reverse.

Not only that, the commercial is an effective piece of B2B content marketing. After the ad aired, Volvo conducted a survey of 2,200 commercial truck owners. Half of those who saw the video said they were more likely to choose Volvo. A third had already visited the website or even contacted a dealer after watching the video.

B2B marketing relies heavily on data, much moreso than B2C. Tell a story with that data-give it tension and drama-and you’re more likely to persuade your buyer.

#3: Cut the Buzzwords

Our cloud solutions actualize the potential of enterprise-level businesses to utilize resources and leverage best practices to ladder up their revenue.

Is it just me, or is the previous sentence like being beaten to death with a damp sponge? What is it about corporate writing that makes people use words they ordinarily wouldn’t go near?

This concept is an extension of the show your personality mandate. Unless you go about your daily life talking like an instruction manual crossed with a thesaurus, drop the corporate-speak. And if you do talk like that in your daily life, seek help. Your friends and family will thank you.

On the minus side, if you start talking like people, you won’t sound like every other corporation. On the plus sideyou won’t sound like every other corporation.

#4: Consider the Rest of Your Buyer’s Workday

What does your buyer think about when they’re not thinking about you? Most B2B content tends to focus on the narrow intersection between the buyer’s problem and the brand’s solution. That’s great for bottom-of-funnel content. But what are you doing to help your buyer the rest of the workday? How are you equipping them for success?

Some would say anything outside of the problem/solution framework is irrelevant. But it’s all relevant. The person you’re selling to has professional needs that go beyond your solution-help them advance their career and-again I say-yabetcha that will make a difference when the buying committee convenes.

HubSpot is a B2B outfit that has 100% internalized this idea. You will find plenty of marketing advice on their blog, but also posts on leadership techniques, mood improvement, and more.

#5: Take a Stand

So you’re committed to showing personality and talking like a human. The next big step is to bring a point of view to your content. Let your audience know what you stand for and fight against. Take sides. Stir up a little controversy, if it needs to be stirred.

Some brands steer clear of taking any kind of stand because they fear alienating potential buyers. Part of identifying your audience, however, is identifying who is not in your audience. The people who might be turned off by your brand expressing values, sharing a vision, or leading a discussion are people who were never potential buyers in the first place. Get opinionated and you can rally the people who matter to your brand and bottom line.

One of my favorite B2B marketers, Jason Miller, exemplifies this idea. He’s not afraid to counter the conventional marketing wisdom, or call out lack of diversity in the industry. This willingness to take a stand has helped make Jason a thought leader and helped bring readers to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions brand.

#6: Be a Mirror, Not a TV

Would you rather be a talking head delivering a monologue to your customer? Or would you rather reflect who they are, what they value, and then show how your solution can help? Let’s make the question even easier: Which do you think your customers prefer?

Your audience should be able to see themselves in your content. That means writing with extraordinary empathy. Or, better still, that means showcasing their stories whenever you can. My favorite B2B example of this is HSBC’s The Elevator. The bank wanted to show they understood small business owners and were committed to helping them succeed.

So they created a web-based reality show with entrepreneurs from around the UK. HSBC provided business coaching for each contestant and awarded a cash prize to the winner. But the series wasn’t just about creating a compelling drama-every video showcased exactly the kind of customer HSBC was trying to reach. The result was an estimated 9 million in revenue from leads generated by the campaign.

No More B2C Envy

It’s time to step out of the shadow of our B2C colleagues. You have my permission to make your marketing every bit as personal, emotional, unique, and dynamic as the best B2C campaigns. Regardless of your vertical, good marketing is good marketing, and every target audience is made of-gasp-people.

Does marketing person-to-person get better results than marketing business-to-buyer?

Yabetcha.

Need help creating awesome B2B content? Explore our content marketing services.


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CMWorld In-Flight Content Guide: Creating a Memorable Content Experience

Today’s modern customer is OBSESSED with experience. Everything from the ability to quickly order an Uber through a mobile app to spending hard-earned money on trips and adventures, not your typical investments.

The customer expectations for content marketing experiences are no different. In fact, a recent study by Kampyle found that 87% of customers think brands need to put more effort into providing a consistent experience.

So now that you’ve prepped for your content marketing journey by diving into our first eBook, In-Flight Content Guide: Prepping for Your Content Marketing Expedition, it’s time to create a great experience.

To help set you down the path to creating a great in-flightcontent experience for your customers, TopRank Marketing and Content Marketing Institute have partnered to bring you yet another go-to-guide from some of the brilliant minds speaking at Content Marketing World in September.

Feel free to get up and stretch your legs as we expect a smooth flight ahead. Then buckle up and get ready for our second of three eBooks titled: In-flight Content Guide: Creating a Memorable Content Experience where our content crew shares their top tips for creating a great content experience.

For this edition, we offer a big thank you to the content marketing experts that contributed including: Ann Handley, Doug Kessler, Wil Reynolds, Michael Brenner, Ian Cleary, Jay Baer, Matt Heinz, Ardath Albee, Carla Johnson, Jillian Hillard, Ahava Leibtag and Scott Berinato.

Share Insights From Our Content Crew Members

If you’d like to share tips from your favorite crew members, simply click below to tweet!


Slow your publishing process to ensure content is as valuable as it could be. @marketingprofs

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A great experience starts with disrupting expectations. @CarlaJohnson

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Spend time with people in your target audience to make better content experiences @dougkessler

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Uncover audience questions and use them in content to improve site rankings. @wilreynolds

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A great content experience starts with a story. @BrennerMichael

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Visual communication helps create great content experiences for your audience. @scottberinato

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Content can be found anywhere, but good content is read. @JillianHillard

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Before you create content, write down the problem you are solving for them (Purpose). @jaybaer

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Make the audience the hero of the story you’re telling. @ardath421

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In content creation, when you share ‘what to do’, think also about ‘how to do’. @IanCleary

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Create interactive content to get your audience directly engaged. @HeinzMarketing

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Ask your audience what type of content is most helpful to create great experiences. @ahaval

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What’s Next?

Stay tunedfor the finaleBook in our series, the In-Flight Content Guide: Making the Most of Your Content Journey.

Content Marketing World 2017

To connect with this content marketing crew of experts in person, be sure to check out the agenda for the 2017Content Marketing World conference.

You can alsofollow along and participate in conversations via Twitter by using the hashtag #CMWorld, by following CMI on Twitter(@CMIContent) or by subscribing to our blog.


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Social Media Marketing Report: Does Your Engagement Measure Up?

If I had to sum up marketing’s relationship with social media in a single nerdy meme, it’d be this:

Yes, much as Obi-Wan Kenobi was dismayed to find that Anakin had turned to the dark side, many marketers feel betrayed by social media. Each platform offered the potential to build an audience and deliver content straight to their feeds. They were supposed to be a powerful tool for organic reach. But one by one, they fell to the dark side of the algorithm.

But don’t throw away your social media channels just yet. After all, if you strike them down, they will become more powerful (sorry, that’s the last Star Wars reference). Instead, let’s have a clear-eyed assessment of what organic engagement looks like on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and see where to go from here.

Rival IQ just released their 2017 Social Media Benchmarks Report, which analyzes engagement by industry on the top three social media channels. These benchmarks can help determine what the best next steps are to maximize your engagement and your reach.

#1: Instagram Leads in Engagement

More than any other platform, Instagram seems to be the place people go to engage with brands. Engagement rate per post averages out to 1.66%, the only platform with over 1% in engagement.

The amount of interaction per post varies widely by industry, however. Higher Ed leads the pack with 3.55%. Surprisingly, Health & Beauty trails behind, with just 1.14%. While Instagram has a reputation as a health, beauty, and fashion platform, none of these categories come close to Nonprofit and Higher Ed for engagement.

Instagram’s visual, mobile-first format is definitely driving more engagement. Video performs exceptionally well on the platform, too-see these examples from brands rocking Instagram video.

You may not think your industry or brand is suited to the format, but if GE and Dell can do it, so can you. It’s not about creating million-dollar visuals or movie-level video. Keep it low-fi, stay honest and authentic. Use Instagram to showcase the people behind your brand and take your audience behind-the-scenes. More importantly, use Instagram’s tools to edit your photos, just like the user base does.

#2: Facebook Has Bigger Audiences, Lower Engagement

Many companies have an exponentially larger audience on Facebook than they do on Instagram. For example, Dell has 287,000 followers on Instagram and 10 million Facebook followers. That increase in audience almost offsets the drop in engagement rate, which is a fraction of Instagram’s. Higher Ed leads with just .33% engagement, while Media lags at .12%. Yes, twelve tenths of a percent.

This benchmark confirms what our agency has been saying for a long time: Facebook should be considered a pay-to-play platform. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Facebook ads are relatively inexpensive, and their targeting options make it easy to reach new audiences.

You should still post organic posts on Facebook, but don’t count on the algorithm to help you with engagement. Use ads to boost posts that are already seeing at least a minimum of engagement-they’re the ones resonating with your audience. Put a little budget behind them and be precise with your targeting, and you can get results.

#3: Twitter is Becoming a Broadcast Platform

Is Twitter dying? Perhaps not, but it has developed a nasty cough. Our own Caitlin Burgess pondered what’s next for Twitter, and a lot of it depends on what the company does in the next year to get well again.

RivalIQ’s numbers are pretty dire: Food & Beverage leads in engagement with .069%, while Media takes the caboose spot with .015%. To put those numbers in easily-understandable terms, if your Twitter engagement was a blood alcohol percentage, you’d still be legal to drive.

These numbers might be indicative of Twitter’s failing vital signs, but I believe there’s a simpler answer. Twitter is a lousy forum for conversation. There’s a ton of content, it moves fast, and most people aren’t watching their feed 24/7. It is, however, a good forum for building relationships. Follow people you want to work with, share their content, and then start a private conversation.

Depending on your audience, it’s still worth investing in paid promotion on Twitter. If it works, keep doing it. But for the most part, think of Twitter as more a platform for broadcasting and building relationships with influencers.

When It Comes to Engagement, Quality Is Key

The most striking find in RivalIQ’s report is that there is virtually no correlation between post frequency and level of engagement. I would love to say there’s a perfect frequency or just-right time of day to post that guarantees you can beat the odds, but the data doesn’t back that up.

Think of it as a positive, though. You’re free from having to post on Twitter three times a day, Facebook 1.5 times, and so on. Now you can focus on quality and relevance over everything else. Even with engagement rates in the single digits-even when they’re below single digits-quality content is always the path to the light side of the social media world.

Need help with social media marketing? We can help. Dig into this delicious TopRank Marketing customer success story to see how we do it.


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The post Social Media Marketing Report: Does Your Engagement Measure Up? appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Generational Social Media, QR Code Comeback and Bing’s Chatbots

Social Media Use by Generation [Infographic]

Preferences vary by generation – this certainly isn’t a well kept secret in the marketing world. So how do you create a message, and choose a medium, that will resonate with your target audience? This infographic shares some ideas. MarketingProfs

Pinterest’s object-recognizing Lens feature now scans QR codes, too

QR codes, like the common cold, never seem to really go away. Pinterest announced this week that their Lens feature will now allow users to scan QR codes that lead to web pages within the Pinterest app, eliminating the need to download a special app to do so. MarketingLand

Bing to Integrate Chatbots into Search Results

Bing is rumored to be integrating chatbots into their search results, and are expected to be announcing this addition at their annual Development conference this week. Developers will be able to use Bing’s bot framework to create their own bots, and will also work via Skype. Search Engine Journal

New Study Reveals How the Expectations of Gen Z ‘Are Reshaping Brand Experiences’

A new study from American Express and Forrester examined the brand expectations of Generation Z and found that Gen Y and Gen Z share similar brand expectations in some respects and both value digital experiences. However, they did find that Gen Z was more likely to want to chat with customer service reps over the phone, and are more likely to drop brands for slow responses in online chats. AdWeek

You Can Now Upload Instagram Posts from Outside of the App Itself

Social Media Today reports: “When you go to instagram.com on your mobile device, you can upload an image direct, without having to open the app. At present, it’s still not possible to upload images from the desktop version of the site, but this new functionality may bring that a step closer.” Social Media Today

YouTube User Stats From Brandcast 2017: 3 Trends in Video Viewing Behavior

YouTube has released user stats from Brandcast 2017, showing trends in video viewing behavior. For example, there are 75% more channels with more than 1 million subscribers than last year, and watch time of TV channels on YouTube has grown by 50% year-over-year. Think by Google

The State of Voice in Five Charts

eMarketer released new research that showed that Amazon has cornered 70^=% of the voice assistant market with the Echo Dot. Millennials are driving 23.3% voice assistant use, followed by 13.4% of Generation X. Digiday

Limitless Snaps

Snapchat has announced: “Today we’re making a pretty big change to the way you create and send Snaps. We’re reorganizing the layout of our creative tools, adding a Magic Eraser (you’ll find this under the Scissor tool), and adding a new setting to the timer: infinity!” Snapchat

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news! Have something to share? Tweet us @toprank or leave a note in the comments.

The post Digital Marketing News: Generational Social Media, QR Code Comeback and Bing’s Chatbots appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Digital Marketing News: Power of Brand Affinity, Digital Ad Revenue Beats TV & Instagram Influencers

Consumers Connecting with Companies and the Power of Brand Affinity [Infographic]

A new infographic reveals the top reasons why consumers feel connectied with brands and the results are telling. Affinity comes when consumers feel that a brand cares about people like themselves, and when the company is run by people like themselves. Social Media Today

Desktop and Mobile Ad Revenue Surpasses TV for the First Time

The IAB reports that in 2016, for the first time, desktop and mobile advertising revenue surpassed TV advertising revenue. Digital revenue grew by 22% year-over-year, with digital video ad revenue growing by 53% and mobile video revenue growing by 145%. Advertising Age

Instagram Dominates Influencer Marketing (Report)

91.9% of influencers surveyed said that their preferred platform is Instagram. Of these social influencers, 12% said that being an influencer was their full time job, which makes sense when you consider that 25% said that their best posts take 1-3 hours to create and many spend nearly 7 hours daily on social media. AdWeek

Facebook pixels get upgrade to track actions & page data

Marketing Land reports: “The engine behind Facebook’s tracking and targeting just got an upgrade. The Facebook pixel helps track conversions, optimize ad spends and retarget users. An upgrade to the pixel was just rolled out that will now capture more information, including actions and page structure and data.” Marketing Land

How Marketers Score Their Firms on 17 Digital Capabilities

A new survey of brand and agency marketers from BCG asked marketers to rate their marketing abilities on a scale of 1 to 100, 100 being the best. Brand marketers rated their firm’s marketing abilities, on average, below 60/100. Agency marketers rated themselves at or above 65/100. Marketing Profs

Search Ad Revenue Up 19%, Now 48% of All Digital Ad Revenue [REPORT]

Search Engine Journal reports: “According to a report from iab, total revenue from search ads has hit a new high which can be attributed in large part to the success of mobile ads. As a result of an unprecedented level of spending on mobile search ads, the search ad format accounted for $35.0 billion in revenue in 2016 – up from $29.5 billion in 2015.” Search Engine Journal

Find your next customer with new audience solutions for Search and Shopping

Google has announced the launch of “similar audiences for Search and Shopping along with Customer Match for Shopping” to help advertisers further target the right customers with your message using your own data. Google

Attribution, integration and replication: The challenges facing advertisers in the digital age

A new report from ClickZ shows that marketers are increasing their budgets significantly in paid search and paid social in 2017. The report also uncovers top challenges — which came down to attribution of marketing success. ClickZ

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more digital marketing news. If you need more in the meantime, follow @toprank on Twitter.

The post Digital Marketing News: Power of Brand Affinity, Digital Ad Revenue Beats TV & Instagram Influencers appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.