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Digital Summit Minneapolis: A Look Back at What We Learned

Parting [ways after an amazing conference] is such sweet sorrow.

Your energy is high, your brain is full and you feel the love of other like-minded marketers. Sometimes however, it’s hard to keep that drive alive once the closing keynote has commenced and you resume your normal routine.

But what if instead of going about business as usual, you keep the momentum going?

Our team was very fortunate to participate in an event this week in our own backyard, the 2017 Digital Summit in Minneapolis. In addition to speaking, we had a large group of team members attend to gain new knowledge, created live blog coverage of the event, and hosted an attendee happy hour and dinner.

If you need a refresher to keep your marketing wheels turning or were not able to attend and would like some marketing insights, let the content below be your guide.

Top Digital Summit Takeaways

If you’re looking for snackable nuggets of information, where better to go than Twitter! Below are some of the top conference takeaways from our very own TopRank Marketing team members.

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Interactive Infographic: 15 Quotes to SuperCharge Your Digital Marketing

To help you supercharge your marketing success, we reached out to some of the most trusted voices in the digital marketing world speaking at the upcoming Digital Marketing Summit Minneapolis conference for their quotable advice. Marketers from companies like 3M, Thomson Reuters, IBM, The Economist Group, BMC Software, Pandora, Salesforce, Adestra, Schwinn Bicycles, SEMRush and our own agency, TopRank Marketinghave joinedexperts includingSeth Godin and Ann Handley to sharetheir pithy tipson a variety of digital marketing topics.

Check out the interactive infographic here.

Supercharge Digital Marketing Infographic

TopRank Marketing Conference Coverage

Lee Odden Shares Ways to Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing

Many marketers are searching for ways to supercharge their marketing but aren’t quite sure how to get started. Incorporating influencers into your marketing strategy can add credibility and authority, read this post to find out how!

Learn how to Become a Better Storyteller with Insights from GoDaddy’s Shawn Pfunder

Stories affect actions. But how can your harness the power of storytelling to engage your audience? In his session, Shawn provided three story templates to live by.

Elevate Your Marketing Career with One Simple Word: Strategy

What does marketing strategy really mean? According to McLean Donnelly, it’s choosing what not to do. Find out how to use math, execute on a strategy and empower your team in this post.

Using Audio to Engage in a Connected World

The future is here! Now is the time to start consider not only the second or third screen, but the screenless marketing opportunities that exist today. Learn how to adapt and thrive in a connected world.

Taming the Wild Wild West of Social Media Digital Reputation

Social media is inevitably part of every business today. But many organizations are struggling to create governance and guidelines around how it should be used for business. If you need help taming your team, this post is a must-read.

5 Ingredients to Master the Perfect Content Marketing Recipe

Today’s consumers are overwhelmed and tired of the same run-of-the-mill content being produced by every marketer out there. Now is the time to begin focusing on content impact by serving your customers delicious content they are sure to devour.

TopRank Marketing Events

We were lucky enough to host not one, but two events during Digital Summit Minneapolis. On behalf of myself and my team, I would like to thank everyone that joined us for either happy hour or dinner to connect, network and gain knowledge from other like-minded marketers.

What’s Next?

Thank you to everyone that attended Digital Summit Minneapolis and helped make it awesome! If you’re interested in engaging with the TopRank Marketing team more, here are three ways to do so:


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Lee Odden Shares Ways to Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing

Sitting across the aisle from a renowned digital marketing strategist and speaker on a daily basis has tendency to allow you to take for granted the knowledge stockpile that is just a few feet away. Tuesday was a good reminder of that.

When Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Marketing, promised the crowd at the 2017 Digital Summit Minneapolis 45 minutes of content in his 25-minute closing keynote, he was not joking.

Eloquently arranged into this 25-minute time frame, Odden opened eyes of marketers to the still-in-it’s-infancy-field of influencer marketing, and how influence can literally supercharge marketing programs. But, don’t take the summary from just me, his desk neighbor. Audience members let me wrangle them on the way into post-conference happy hour to share their favorite parts of the presentation too.

Why Influence?

In 1900, cars zoomed down the road at a blistering 45 MPH. Within 8 years, a car could travel 100 MPH. How? The supercharger: a seemingly magical collaboration between oxygen and the automotive engine causing unheard of increases in horsepower and torque.

How do you supercharge your marketing? By adding your own superchargedinfluencers. Influencers provide valuable, trustworthy content and incredible amplification opportunities you couldn’t otherwise realize.

How much added horsepower can you see from influencer marketing?

  • $9.60 in earned media value for every $1 spent (Burst Media)
  • 10x increase in conversion rate (Content Marketing Institute)
  • 37% higher retention rate (McKinsey)

These stats alone are fantastic! But what kept many audience members on their toes throughout the presentation, was that influencer marketing is still a relatively new form of marketing, and taking what they learned, they could help their organization still get in while it’s hot.

And, let’s just say, it IS still hot. Odden also shared data from Altimeter, Traackr and TopRank Marketing’s recent research report, Influence 2.0. Our research found influencer marketing was the number one underfunded area of marketing today, with less than 10% of budgets allocated toward it. Of those influencer marketers surveyed:

  • 50% of marketers spent less than $100k per year on influencer marketing
  • Yet, looking ahead, 55% of marketers plan to increase their spend on influencer tactics next year

What is Influence?

When you think of influence, if you think of Kim Kardashian holding a product, think again.

Odden explained:


Influence isn’t about popularity. It is the ability to affect action. @leeodden

Click To Tweet


What got the #DSMPLS audience excited was that everyone and anyone can be an influencer. As you’re selecting the right influencers for your situation, hone in on Odden’s definition:

Influencer marketing is developing relationship with internal and industry experts with active networks to co-create content that helps drive measurable business goals.

What are the basic steps to implement influencer marketing?

The audience members I spoke with also appreciated Odden’s sneak peek into three steps for implementing influencer marketing.

  1. Activation: Start the conversation and build relationships. Listen to influencers and align on what you have in common.
  2. Co-creation: Develop content together. Compose a goal and make it fun and easy for influencers to participate.
  3. Amplify: Provide influencers with ammo to share your content. Make it easy and show them how it benefits them.

Lee also added ongoing influencer nurturing is the like the rinse and repeat of this three-step shampoo bottle.

B2B or B2C?

Influencer marketing has proven to be successful in both B2B and B2C situations. The Influence 2.0 research showed that of those with influencer marketing programs, B2C brands were ahead of B2B in maturity:

  • 55% B2C brands have ongoing or integrated programs
  • 15% of B2B brands have ongoing or integrated programs
  • 49% of B2B brands are still experimenting

If you’re in B2B, don’t let maturity of use in the industry intimidate you. Start creating your influencer marketing strategy today to get ahead of the curve.

Is this a pay-to-play space?

Brands large and small, deploying successful influencer marketing programs have seen success using completely paid, completely organic and a mix of paid and organic efforts with their influencer programs. The best choice will be dependent on your business goals and the value your influencers will receive.

Types of Organic Influencer Engagements

In my pre-happy hour prowling, I also learned the audience loved hearing about the three types of influencer engagements and the powerful examples of each Odden shared.

  • Microcontent: Short-form quotes, tips or insights from individual influencers added to brand content.
  • Campaigns: Longer-form content contributed by individual influencers often as a part of a larger campaign.
  • Community: A dedicated group of influencers that contribute a variety of short- and long-form content for brand communications.

Let’s dive in.

Microcontent: Influencer Marketing is Like Dating

Microcontent can be quickly produced by asking influencers questions centered around keywords. Wa-laah, just like that, you have a keyword-centered answer ready to gain rankings.


Influencer marketing is like dating. You should ease into it. @leeodden

Click To Tweet


Microcontent can show up in many formats as an ingredient to a bigger piece: from influencer roundup blogs and SlideShares to adding snippets within a brand-developed piece of content.

Campaigns

Once you’re dating your influencers okay that doesn’t sound right once you’ve nurtured your influencers and grown the relationships, you can begin to engage them in campaigns.

Within a campaign, you’ll want to map content against the stages of a purchase journey. Think about the genuine questions your target audience is asking. What’s keeping them up at night? Then decide from whom each answer should come: your brand or an influencer.

It’s important to select influencers who are aligned with your message so both parties gain the full value of an influencer campaign. If you aren’t on the same page, the brand won’t relay the correct message and the piece won’t be as valuable to the influencer which will likely decrease their amplification and deter future collaboration.

Influencer integrated campaigns are where you really see that supercharge in action. In one impressive B2B example Odden shared, with the use of gated assets, long-form interview blogs and social promotion, a brand drove 200,00 views, 4,000 downloads and over 1,000 leads!

Or try another B2B brand who with the help of just one but impressive influencer, Shep Hyken, drove $570,000 in qualified sales leads and $1.5 million in projected pipeline revenue in 30 days!

Catch your breath. I know, that blew me away too, and I sit next to the team who designed and executed the latter example.

Community

A structured formal influencer community is a sign of a mature influencer program. In this situation, influencers know (and are likely proud) they are part of the brand’s influencer community. Influencers are asked to contribute to short- and long-form content for brand communications at a regular cadence.

There may or may not be a paid component to being a part of a structured influencer community. But even if there reimbursement, it’s not like what Lebron pockets from Nike, or one-off tweet (an estimated $185k).

Influencers become and stay a part of a brand’s community because their beliefs and values align with the brand’s. And because participating provides them with value.

Odden cited the Adidas Tango Squad as an effective example of a B2C influencer community. Squads of 100-250 youth ages 16-19 in 15 cities worldwide are looped into exclusive content and new product releases before it goes live elsewhere. Adidas stands by their investment arguing content is far more authentic if you give it to 500 kids with 2,000 followers compared to a global influencer with a million followers.

Community’s also work strikingly well for B2B: think employees, execs, clients, industry thought leaders, media and analysts.

Operationalize Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is not a task or even a project. To fully gain the value of the supercharger, integrate influencer marketing in every step of your marketing planning, execution, measurement and optimization.

Ready to supercharge your marketing but not sure where to start? We’d love to help. Learn more about our influencer marketing services or reach out, today.


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Elevate your Marketing Career with One Simple Word: Strategy

Not everyone can say that within 4 years, they went from being an individual contributor to the VP of a billion dollar company. McLean Donnelly can.

How did he do it? As someone with a design background, you might expect the answer was jaw-dropping designs. But that is only part of the magic. It is the well-paired designs with outstanding business cases that propelled Donnelly’s career forward. And, his ability to grow the talent he manages, the product he sells and the bottomline.

So, how did he get there? In his Digital Marketing Summit presentation on Tuesday, Donnelly shared what he learned through his MBA, adding business IQ to his repertoire of design skills. Here are the three areas he suggested you can grow in with or without an MBA.

#1 Learn the Math

Even if you haven’t taken a math class since 10th grade, you can still learn the business math, as Donnelly called it. Buy your accountant a burrito for lunch one day or check out a quick course from Khan Academy and you’ll be surprised how quickly you can learn.

  • Income Statement: Understand the basics on an income statement. It is the blueprint of understanding a business model. And, don’t just focus on the revenue sources. If you can find opportunities to reduce cost, you can drive profit just as quickly. For instance, at Expedia, Donnelly learned if a customer spent more than X seconds on a customer service phone call, the company began losing money. Opportunity? I’d say.
  • Statistics: Get the hang of statistics. And it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you might think. For instance, in Google Analytics, you’ll find your eCommerce conversion rate = the # of visitors / the # of conversions. Really dig into the data, question it. Once you have a solid understanding of statistics and the income statement, you can take this business math to the next step:
  • Building Models: Identify the business case before even working on a specific design opportunity (writer’s note: apply this train of thought to every marketing tactic to drive stellar strategy). Then, build a model to test your designs against metrics that lead to ROI. And to get started, keep in mind a quick Google search will find you free design templates for testing revenue models.

#2 Execute on a Strategy

Backed by a strong business case, you can now be strategic in the tactics you’re implementing. Donnelly cited Michael Porter’s the Lebron of business definition of strategy:


The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. @McLeanDonnelly

Click To Tweet


All too often in business we get caught up on what we’re supposed to do or what was in the plan. Constantly stepping back to reassess why and determine what not to do will drive results more quickly.

To help us execute on strategy, Donnelly took us through his favorite creative approach Human Centered Design. Human Centered Design is a design and management framework that develops solutions to problems by involving the human perspective in all steps of the problem-solving process. Here are the four pillars Donnelly covered:

  • Find the emotional connection: Every brand experience has an opportunity for an emotional connection. Find yours. Help your team figure out customers’ emotional connection to your brand by mapping a customer journey collage. At Shutterstock, Donnelly’s team brings in customers to share what they want to feel at each stage of the journey. When they’re designing that photo book, they want the warm fuzzies, whereas while they are about to check out, they want to trust the site’s security and speed of product delivery.
  • Solve for the users’ worries/problems: Look for honest, constructive dialog from your customers about your product and company. Easy place to find it? On social media. Value that input rather than worry too much about the negative feedback. You can address it and learn from it.
  • Talk to your customers: No, seriously. Talk to them. If you’re not having actual face to face convos with your customers, you’re not going to succeed CTT See how their voice and facial expressions change when they talk about each interaction with your brand. Customers can’t just be data points in Google Analytics.
  • Find your signature experience: Figure out what is unique about your brand. Eye glasses shopping once took place in a store where you snapped a photo of yourself and texted your friends for input. Today, you can have your top frame picks delivered to your door, and make an evening of the experience, gathering friends and sipping on cocktails. Donnelly highly recommends leveraging the Northstar Workshop to drive these insights. Gather team members from every department in one room to foster an open conversation and create a sense of investment in the customers’ problems you are solving for. You can set this type of meeting at a regular cadence, or like some organizations, work in SCRUM 100% of the time.

#3 Empower Your Team

Empowering his team is what really got Donnelly started down the path of getting his MBA. When I got my first report, it’s when I realized how much I love being a manager. Getting my MBA was a way to scale my passion for management. I am now better able to help grow talent and the organization as a whole, Donnelly explained.

Posted at his desk, Donnelly’s daily inspiration are Dr. Edward Deming’s 14 points. It has been transformational in how I think as a manager, Donnelly shared. Dr. Deming was a visionary in empowering employees. He believed A bad system will beat a good person every time. Often called the father of LEAN, Deming advocated process reduction and a push toward individual ownership.


I can tell you first hand, allowing for individual ownership is how you succeed. @McLeanDonnelly

Click To Tweet


Here are Donnelly’s favorites from Deming’s 14 points:

  • Break down barriers between departments. People in research, design, sales, and production must work as a team to foresee problems of production and use that may be encountered with the product or service.
  • Eliminate the need for inspection on a mass basis by building quality into the product in the first place. Mass inspection is not scalable, not empowering and just doesn’t work. Put quality back on the worker, giving them that ownership.
  • Put everybody in the company to work to accomplish the transformation. The transformation is everybody’s job.

Add Strategy to Your Work Today

Do you sometimes feel like you’re going through the motions, executing marketing tactic after tactic? Take a step back today, huddle with your cross-functional team and ensure you’re on point with WHY. Use your newfound business IQ to inform your tactics and in Michael Porters’ words, take the time to Choose what not to do.

What should you stop doing at work today?


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Taming the Wild Wild West of Social Media Digital Reputation #DSMPLS

In the Wild, Wild West of Social Media Digital Reputation, employees create social accounts without governance. But, are they on brand?

At the Digital Summit Minneapolis, #DSMPLS, Casey Hall,Thomson Reuters, shared a process for taming the horses and adding governance to the stable.

The Audit

Start by searching your company name and all variations of it, says Hall. You can use a simple spreadsheet or a database to keep track of the channel name, followers, last activity, link and log if there were any brand issues.

Once you have found all the rogue channels, you need to determine if it is a relevant channel or if it needs to move to the takedown.

The Takedown

If possible, find the employee and ask them to take down the account. If that is not possible, try messaging the account. Hall found many times the person who owned the channel would take down the channel before they had any more correspondence.

If needed, you can try to recover the password by submitting a ticket to the platform, and if the account was started with an official corporate email, it is often recoverable. Hall recommended contacting their representative at the channel helped expedite the takedown.

Best Practices

Give people training and they be open to following the rules says Hall. Thomson Reuters created a Digital Oversight Committee to review best practices and provide training. The oversight committee included representatives from

  • Social leads
  • Creative
  • Brand
  • Legal/Privacy
  • Digital Leads
  • Communications

Get the Tools

Find a tool to allow the enterprise organization to manage their social channels. They now have creative services department create and allow access to others. Rogue accounts will still happen, but less often.

Governance

The key providing governance to employees. Hall says you need to empower your oversight committee to provide guidance and governance to the organization. At Thomson Reuters, anyone who wants to start a new channel needs to fill-out an application on why and what KPIs they will report. Sometimes, the committee will recommend partnering with a channel that is already in place, which provides new content for that channel.

The oversight committee monitors the use of the channels, and if there is inactivity, they will cull the channel.

Finally, Hall reminds us to continue monitoring. New accounts and channels will continue to appear. But, if you continue to be diligent and monitor, the horses will not get out of stable, again.

Want More From #DSMPLS?

You can follow us on @toprank for live tweets from the conference and visit toprankblog.com for additional coverage.


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12 Must-See Speakers at Digital Marketing Summit Minneapolis #DSMPLS

As marketers, our jobs require that we prioritize ongoing education and learning in order to remain relevant and competitive. Fortunately for us, there are a plethora of ways to gain this knowledge.

One of the most effective (and my personal favorite) ways to keep learning is to attend industry conferences. Not only do these events provide a ton of information, but they also allow you to surround yourself with other like-minded marketers that you can connect with and learn from.

Not everyone can attend multiple conferences throughout the year so it’s essential to make those that you do go to, count. I know from experience that it can be incredibly overwhelming to decide which sessions to attend So don’t get caught working out your itinerary between sessions, because you may kick yourself later for missing something important.

Today kicks off the two day Digital Marketing Summit in Minneapolis. To help you get the most of this great event, below are some of my recommendations for must-see sessions for each day.

Digital Marketing Summit: Monday August 14th, 2017

Seth Godin

@ThisIsSethsBlog

Best Selling Author

1:15pm

Opening Keynote

If you haven’t seen Seth Godin speak before (or even if you have), you’re in for a big treat. Seth is the author of 17 bestselling books and an authority on marketing, the post-industrial revolution leadership and so much more. While his keynote topic is a surprise, it is sure to be a session you can’t afford to miss.

Mina Seetharaman

@minaseeth

SVP, Global Managing Director, Marketing Solutions The Economist

2:40pm

Thought Leadership Disrupted

Brands large and small are competing to become the authority on topics related to their industry. But instead of focusing on thought leadership solely, marketers have an opportunity to reframe their approach to become thought partners. Mina’s session will help attendees uncover:

  • What content works best for B2B
  • How to become the go-to source of content for stakeholders
  • Ways to reach your target audience through distribution, format and content cadence

Cliff Seal

@cliffseal

UX Lead Salesforce Pardot

2:40pm

Death to Boring B2B Marketing: Driving Innovation with Design Thinking

B2B marketers have a huge opportunity to crush perception that B2B stands for Boring to Boring. Cliff’s session will focus on breathing new life into your B2B marketing with creativity, experimentation, collaboration and refining goals to be more trackable and attainable.

Grad Conn

@gradconn

GM, B2B Marketing Microsoft

3:25pm

Superhero Selling: Reaching and Engaging the People That Count

Too often, marketing teams struggle to figure out exactly how to reach their target audience. Or worse yet, aren’t exactly sure who that audience is or what they care about. In his session, Grad will take a dive into helping you expand your connections so that you can reach the right people, ways to develop a customer-centric experience that will resonate with your buyers and the impact of collaborative technology systems.

Gabe Tartaglia

@gabetartaglia

VP of Sales Pandora

3:25pm

Engaging in a Connected World with the Power of Audio

Not only are we now concerned with the multiple screens that our audience uses, but we also have to think about the screen-less world. Audiences are now spending more time, and often more engaged when listening to audio such as podcasts, interviews and more. This session will uncover the power of audio as a way to make meaningful connections with consumers.

Ashley Zeckman

@azeckman

Director of Agency Marketing TopRank Marketing

4:10pm

Mastering the Perfect Content Recipe: 5 Key Ingredients for Insanely Effective Content Marketing

What kind of marketer would I be if I didn’t recommend that you attend my session?!? As the content landscape becomes increasingly competitive, it has become even more essential that marketers get creative and focus on content impact versus quantity. This session will walk you through five content tactics to take your marketing from drab to delicious.

Digital Marketing Summit: Tuesday August 15th, 2017

McLean Donnelly

@McLeanDonnelly

Vice President of User Experience Shutterstock

8:30am

Design & Business: A New Model of Product Strategy

Great Design and UX have become increasingly important as consumers needs and sophisticated evolves. Unfortunately, design teams are often left in the dark about larger business strategies and product management. This McLean’s session will help to solve some of these issues by presenting frameworks for design team management and actionable methods to deliver Human Centered Design.

Ryan Phelan

@ryanpphelan

VP, Marketing Insights Adestra

10:00am

First Person Marketing: Using Data to Drive Higher Email Results

Targeted email is effective, email blasts, not so much. Break free of outdated and spammy email tactics by attending Ryan’s session where you’ll learn how email marketing has evolved, what you can do to stay up with customer needs and ways to use data to your advantage.

Lisa Marcyes

@lisa_marcyes

Sr. Social Media marketing Manager Marketo

11:45am

5 Biggest Mistakes Social Media Marketers Make and How to Avoid Them

A small whoops, can mean big impact on the social web. No matter how quickly you delete a post or comment, you can bet someone has already taken a screenshot. To avoid making further and larger mistakes, Lisa will walk attendees through a data-centric approach that can accurately measure social ROI, how an audience analysis can ensure your efforts are effective and how to incorporate channel specific tactics to drive reach and engagement.

Ann Handley

@MarketingProfs

Chief Content Officer MarketingProfs

12:50pm

Lunch Keynote Good Content Vs. Good Enough Content: A Fight for Sore Eyes

Need advice on how to create great content? You’re in luck that the Queen of Content herself, Ann Handley will be sharing insights on how to tell bolder stories and create better content that is ridiculously engaging and irresistible to your audience.

Carlos Gil

@carlosgil83

Head of Global Social Media BMC Software

3:25pm

Snapchat Strategies for Marketing Your Business

What’s up Snapchat fam? Join Snapchat master, Carlos Gil for insights into how to reach a younger audience with digital marketing. This session will provide advanced strategies for dominating Snapchat by developing integrated content strategies, working with influencers and effectively measuring the ROI of your Snapchat efforts.

Lee Odden

@leeodden

CEO TopRank Marketing

4:05pm

Closing Keynote Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing

How can you stand out in a sea of content when consumers are unengaged? One way is to harness the power of influencers to supercharge your marketing efforts. In his closing keynote, Lee will provide a framework, best practices, tools and examples for effectively integrating influencers into your content marketing.

Join us on Monday Night for Happy Hour!

After the end of the conference on Monday August 14, TopRank Marketing will be hosting a fun happy hour starting at 6:30pm exclusively for Digital Marketing Summit attendees. It will be a great chance to unwind and network.

Check out the detailshere and sign upfor your free ticket!


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Digital Marketing News: VR is Growing, AI is Watching & 3 Billion are on Social Media

Global Social Media User Base Reaches 3 Billion

A new report compiled by HootSuite and We Are Social found that the total number of social media users has now exceeded 3 billion, accounting for about 40 percent of the global population. Truly an incredible number, and one that speaks to the contemporary ubiquity of these networks. Mashable

AI is Analyzing You on Social Media for Marketing Research

With so many people using social media, there are no shortage of habits and behaviors to monitor and aggregate. AI marketing solutions company Ayzenberg is using machine-learning algorithms to analyze social speech and create actionable data for segmenting and profiling customers. The Next Web

AR and VR Revenue Projected at $215 Billion by 2021

Although everyone is still trying to figure out the best ways to utilize augmented and virtual reality, there is no question these technologies are gaining serious traction. The latest forecast from IDC suggests that spending on AR and VR products and services will reach $11 billion this year, with revenues expected to surpass $215 billion by 2021. As Jamiroquai once told us: the future’s made of virtual insanity. Media Post

Snapchat Takes a Page from Facebook Ads’ Power Editor

Hoping to make itself a more attractive destination for advertisers, Snapchat is beefing up its Ads Manager functionality with a new Advanced Mode that brings in new targeting, testing, and tweaking features. We’ll see if it helps turn around the company’s sluggish stock performance. TechCrunch

LinkedIn Expands Marketing Program, with Eye on Targeting, Measurement

In efforts to help marketers better measure and increase ROI, LinkedIn is expanding and diversifying its Marketing Partners Program, which originally launched three years ago. The program helps business users connect with LinkedIn-approved third-party technology partners. The three new categories added are marketing analytics, audience management, and media buying. Newly introduced partners include HootSuite and Marketo. Marketing Dive

People Take More Time to Read Emails on Mobile Than Desktop

It probably doesn’t shock you that more people now read emails on their mobile devices than desktop. But this nugget may come as a surprise: recipients spend more time reading emails on mobile, and are more likely to go through the entire message instead of quickly exiting. This runs contrary to conventional thinking that smartphone users are apt to skim-and-skip emails. Marketers, take note. Marketing Charts

Brands Use Instagram Stories More Than Twice as Often as Snapchat

Snapchat is the most popular platform for taking a picture of yourself with a glittery unicorn filter, but its business utility remains dubious. This is evidenced by the fact that, per business intelligence firm L2, brands are using Instagram Stories far more often. As Instagram becomes the mainstream choice for brand Stories, Snapchat risks being niche-ified, L2 suggested in its report. AdWeek

Linqia Unveils ‘First’ Platform for Predicting Influencer Engagement

More interesting news out of Silicon Valley: Linqia is releasing an updated version of its flagship platform, which the company is dubbing as the first to predictively analyze influencer performance. The company claims its tool will deliver better than 90 percent accuracy in forecasting influencer campaign engagement metrics. MarTech Today

40 Facts About How the Psychology of Color Can Boost Your Website Conversions [Infographic]

How can you boost website conversions? By changing up your color pallette, according to this infographic via the review site Skilled. Dig into the data for some intriguing insights on the psychology of color and how it affects decision-making. MarketingProfs

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news! As always, if you need more in the meantime follow@toprankon Twitter or subscribe to the TopRank Marketing blog for daily insights to your inbox.


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Digital Marketing News: VR is Growing, AI is Watching & 3 Billion are on Social Media | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post Digital Marketing News: VR is Growing, AI is Watching & 3 Billion are on Social Media appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank.

Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview With Comedian, Marketer Tim Washer

As we marketers long to make meaningful connections with our audience, we often look deep into our figurative crystal balls in hopes of finding a way to lay an irresistible field of content that will trap their attention. Unfortunately, we canend up putting our audience to sleep-leaving the door open for more colorful characters to swoop in and carry them away.

So, how can we take to the sky and get our audience to surrender to our content? By crafting a narrative that has empathy, humility and wit. And there’s certainly no better person to look to for inspiration than comedic treasure Tim Washer, Creative Director of Marketing for the Service Provider Division for Cisco.

As part of our Wizard of Oz-inspired Behind the Marketing Curtain interview series, today we’ll pull back the fabric and get to know more about how Mr. Washer arrived in the wonderful world of marketing, and share insights that can help you harness the power of comedy to humanize your brand and connect with your audience.

Enjoy!

The Man Behind the Curtain

Tim grew up in Houston, TX and attended college at Texas A&M University, majoring in-you guessed it-marketing. But after graduation he took a sales job at Xerox-which was certainly not in his original plan.

As I was getting close to graduation, there was one thing I knew I didn’t want to do: work in sales, Tim recalled. But as I was looking at marketing jobs, most open positions seemed to be promotional jobs-and I wasn’t turned on by that.

Then a professor of mine mentioned Xerox, and said their sales team was rated No. 1, he added. So, then I thought: ‘Why not start there?’ This seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a better idea of how customers think and what their needs are, which is essential in marketing. It was a total one-eighty for me.

After snagging a meeting and shadowing someone for a day, Tim landed the gig at Xerox-laying the foundation for what would be a long career in the software and technology space. A few years later, he went back to school to get his MBA. Then, in the late 1990s, he made his way to New York City and has been there ever since.

But shortly after his move, Tim realized he wasn’t exactly working in his calling.

What I really enjoy doing is comedy and improv, and making people laugh, he said. That’s where I feel at home. That’s my Kansas.

As it stands today, Tim has been able to merge his practical sales and marketing experience with his true passion. As previously mentioned, he’s currently Cisco’s Creative Director of Marketing for the Service Provider Division, and specializes in corporate humor and video content. Here’s a little taste of his work:

Prior to Cisco, he spent about six years doing similar work at IBM. In addition, he’s still active in the comedy arena, with writing and acting credits for his work on Saturday Night Live, Conan, The Onion, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

But how exactly did he get here? We’ll get to that in the next section.

Following His Yellow Brick Road

Like Dorothy Gale, an unexpected twister hit Tim without warning, sending him on a long and winding path.

I know the exact moment it happened, Tim remembered. It was March 3, 1998.

It was the season of Lent, and Tim said he was thumbing through a devotional guide that his church- Fifth Avenue Presbyterian-had created for the season.

In there, I saw a Frederick Buechner quote that said: ‘The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger coincide,’ he recited. And there were a series of reflection questions, the first one was: ‘What is your spiritual gift?’

For Tim, that answer was easy. It was making people laugh-but he asked around just to make sure others felt the same way. But it was the next question that sealed his fate.

The question asked: ‘How good of a steward are you being to this gift?’ Tim explained. And at that moment I had this feeling of obligation come over me. I realized it was no longer a choice. It wasn’t something I wanted to do-it was something I had to do. I was going to be a comedian.

[bctt tweet=”#Comedy wasn’t something I wanted to do. It was something I had to do. @timwasher” username=”toprank”]

After that, Tim joined the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) in New York City, and studied improv under the incomparable Amy Poehler. She actually helped him get one of his first big breaks-writing for SNL.

She was extremely influential and helpful, Tim said, likening her help to the kind Dorothy received from Scarecrow, Tinman and Cowardly Lion.

He had a few other trusty helpers along the way, too, including Tony Hale, known for his role as Buster Bluth on Arrested Development and Gary Walsh on Veep, as well as film director Scott Teems.

Scott is without a doubt one of the most influential people on my career, Tim said. When I pitched my first comedy video to IBM, I didn’t have any budget, but I called him up and he worked with me on it. And they loved it. He’s been a dear friend, and whenever he’s available I ask him to work with me.

Nearly two decades later, and several of his signature and wildly successful PowerPoint bits later, Tim has carved out a unique career niche for himself and he’s turning out award-winning corporate work.

Meeting the Wizard

Without further ado, let’s dive into Tim’s tips and insights for infusing comedy into your marketing strategy.

That’s a horse of a different color. How can comedy and content come together to create a unique audience experience and bolster brand voice?

Comedy is the most powerful way to humanize a brand because it demonstrates empathy. Let’s face it, a lot of true comedy comes from pain. So, when we can come out and touch on a customer pain point, we show them that we understand their point of view. When we do something that is self-deprecating, when we look vulnerable, and when we let our guard down a little bit that’s when we make a connection.

These days, there’s so little content out there that truly connects with people. So often we start off with a good idea, it goes through a committee where everyone wants to have a say in something, and the idea begins to soften. Then you end up with the lowest common denominator of something safe.

So much of marketing is telling people how great we are. But with comedy-especially in the form of video-we can show them that we’re not always going to tell you how great we are. And if you can make someone laugh, that is the most intimate connection you can make.

[bctt tweet=”If you can make someone laugh, that is the most intimate connection you can make. @timwasher” username=”toprank”]

The Wicked Witch was defeated with just a pail of water. What creative tactics and tools can marketers use to create an engaging video experience?

If you’re going to do comedy, it’s critical to get a comedy writing and a video production team that are experienced with producing comedy. One of the biggest mistakes people make is saying: Let’s make a funny video. Our in-house video guy can probably do it. But when it falls flat, they often think comedy just doesn’t work for their brand.

Comedy is very much a social sport. You need to have a partner with the right chemistry, and someone to bounce ideas off-and someone to tell you when something just isn’t funny. This dramatically enhances the work.

As a more general rule for creating great video, you need to be able to tell a story-a story that doesn’t focus on hitting all your product talking points. For example, we did a mini documentary for Cisco that showed how smaller service providers are serving third-world countries. It focused on how our customers are making a difference, and of course inferred that our technologies are helping them make that difference.

[bctt tweet=”If you want to add #comedy to your #marketing, get an experienced team. @timwasher” username=”toprank”]

Dorothy’s ruby slippers were the key to achieving her end goal of returning home. How can marketers leverage their existing resources to unlock creative video content ideas?

These days budgets are being cut, yet we still need to produce more content. So, we need to transition from marketers to content creators-and those are two very different skillsets. But the bottom line is that you need to focus on telling the story.

Get away from the product and focus on finding out how people are actually using your product or service. Ask yourself what people want to watch. Ask yourself how you could make something visually interesting and compelling. If you don’t have a big video budget, invest in a cheap light, tripod and camera, and start shooting. Make 10 videos, and then publish the 11th one. Once you get comfortable with it, great things can happen.

[bctt tweet=”When doing any kind of video #content, you need to focus on telling the story. @timwasher #marketing” username=”toprank”]

Good witch or bad witch? What’s a bad habit all marketers should drop?

Letting fear have too much influence over their decisions-and dropping this habit certainly requires some deep personal reflection. Ask yourself how does fear hold me back in my job? Is it a risk-averse boss? Is it fear of failure? You need to figure out how fear is impacting you right now, in this very moment. Then you can start to find solutions to work around it.

[bctt tweet=”Ask: How does fear hold me back? Once you figure it out, you can look for solutions. @timwasher” username=”toprank”]

What’s one thing you would ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? (More budget, more resources, better data?)

Well, I’d always ask for more budget. But I’d also ask for a committee of yes people. Those who are more open to risk-taking. I’m fortunate to work for a company that is open to all of that, and wants to be leaders in the creative space and embrace risk-taking.

We’re Off to Meet More Wizards

I’d like to sincerely thank Tim for taking the time to open up about who he is, where he comes from and how he approaches content and comedy. Thank you so much, Tim.

Of course, TopRank Marketing’s journey to Emerald City is still underway. In the coming months, we’ll be bringing you more exclusive interviews and insights from industry wizards to add some smarts, heart and nerve to your marketing efforts.

Stay tuned for our next installment, my pretty!

What’s one thing you’d ask the all-powerful marketing wizard for? Tell us in the comments section below.

The post Behind the Marketing Curtain: An Interview With Comedian, Marketer Tim Washer appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank.

15 Ways to Supercharge Your Digital Marketing #DSMPLS

15 Ways Supercharge Digital Marketing

Good marketing programs involve strategy, goals, target audience, tactics and measurement. Great marketing programs often include a special ingredient to really supercharge the engine of leads and sales.

To help you supercharge your marketing success, I’ve reached out to some of the most trusted voices in the digital marketing world speaking at the upcoming Digital Marketing Summit Minneapolis conference for their quotable advice. Marketers from companies like 3M, Thomson Reuters, IBM, The Economist Group, BMC Software, Pandora, Salesforce, Adestra, Schwinn Bicycles, SEMRush and our own agency, TopRank Marketinghave joinedexperts includingSeth Godin and Ann Handley to sharetheir pithy tipson a variety of digital marketing topics.

What topics you ask? How about:Content Marketing, Influence, Social Storytelling, Artificial Intelligence, Email Marketing, Social Customer Service, Purposeful Marketing, Reputation Management, Thought Leadership, Audio Marketing, Creative Content & Promotion, SEO, Design Thinking and Marketing with Microinfluencers. Enjoy!

The Misfit Advantage

You’re more powerful than you imagine. In our new connection economy, it’s the misfit who has an advantage. The artist that we seek out, the maker of ruckuses.

What we need are your generosity, hubris and insight. The true voice that you’ve been hiding the world is ready for it now.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin @ThisIsSethsBlog

Best Selling Author

Digital SummitPresentation: Opening Keynote

Less is Better

What’s one thing marketers can do to supercharge how they approach content for marketing?

Supercharge your marketing by (ironically) doing less.

Why? Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged, wrote poet Robert Browning a century and a half ago.

In modern marketing parlance (probably an idea Browning couldn’t fathom!), Less Is More means you focus on creating less content that will have greater impact.

Better content.

Content that has real value for your audience.

Content they will love.

And content that will sustain your organization, and (importantly) that you can be proud of.

Sounds like too lofty a goal? Too high a bar? Not in my view. (And that’s what I’ll be talking about in Minneapolis!)

Ann Handley

Ann Handley @marketingprofs

Chief Content Officer, MarketingProfs

Digital SummitPresentation:Lunch Keynote Good Content vs. Good Enough Content: A Sight for Sore Eyes

Co-Create to be Great

When buyers are overwhelmed with information and distrustful of advertising, marketers can improve reach, trust and engagement by co-creating content with peers, experts and influencers. If you want content to be great, ask your brand’s community to participate!

Lee Odden

Lee Odden @leeodden

CEO, TopRank Marketing

Digital SummitPresentation: Closing Keynote Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing

Engage Where They Live

While every brand is facing the same challenge: where should we spend our time? Stop debating the platforms and which one is better (ex: Instagram vs. Snapchat) and start placing a higher emphasis on engaging your community, including prospective customers, on the platforms where they live through content that’s fun, creative, or educational. Storytelling is the new content marketing.

Carlos Gil

Carlos Gil @CarlosGil83

Head of Global Social Media, BMC Software

Digital SummitPresentation: Snapchat Strategies for Marketing Your Business

Clean Data = Smarter Insight

When experimenting with new machine learning applications from technology vendors, make sure you have LOTS of good data (clean and comprehensive) or the machine output of analysis, content or recommendations may be of low confidence, or worse wrong or inconsistent with your brand.

Loren McDonald

Loren McDonald @lorenmcdonald

Marketing Evangelist, IBM Watson Marketing

Digital SummitPresentation: AI and Machine Learning Technologies: What They Mean for Marketers Today and in the Future

First-Person Marketing

Become a First-Person Marketer, someone who looks at a list of email addresses and sees people, with needs, interests, goals and attitudes, not just records in a database. They use email addresses to identify customers across channels and incorporate data to sharpen their targeting and messaging. The more marketers who do this, the better off we all will be.

Ryan Phelan

Ryan Phelan @ryanpphelan

VP Marketing Insights, Adestra

Digital SummitPresentation:First Person Marketing: Using Data to Drive Higher Email Results

Engage with Purpose

Be proactive in your social listening and then engage with a purpose. Remember that you’re a human writing to other humans be real, be transparent, and take your time with one-on-one interactions. People don’t want to hear from a lofty brand figurehead, they want to hear from a person. Be a person.

Alennah Westlund

Alennah Westlund @lennerswest

Content Specialist, 3M

Digital SummitPresentation:Branded Social Care: Protecting and Amplifying Reputation Through Strategic Engagement

Optimize Experience with Authenticity

Purpose and authenticity are the connective tissue between brands and customers. Create that connection by speaking with ideal customers face-to-face. Organize insights from conversations into their questions, feelings, and actions so you can fully optimize the customer experience.

Mack Fogelson

Mack Fogelson @mackfogelson

Founder & CEO, Genuinely

Digital SummitPresentation:Evolve to Survive: How Purpose and Authenticity is the Future of Brands

Audit Your Reputation

To understand how your customers experience your products and brand online, run a search for your flagship products on all the social networks. If you don’t understand and like everything you see, you need to work on digital reputation management, starting with a detailed audit of the existing accounts.

Casey Hall

Casey Hall @CaseyHall_

Manager Social Media Business Communications, Thomson Reuters

Digital SummitPresentation:Digital Reputation Management and Social Media

Help Audiences Get Smarter

Thought leadership is about solving, not selling. People wake up thinking about their problems, not your product. In our research, Thought Leadership Disrupted, only 28% of marketers cited helping their audience become more knowledgeable as a primary objective. True thought leaders don’t push product; they understand their audience and share ideas to help them tackle issues.

Mina Seetharaman

Mina Seetharaman @minaseeth

SVP, Global Managing Director, Marketing Solutions, The Economist Group

Digital SummitPresentation:Thought Leadership Disrupted

When Voice Replaces Touch

Consider the future importance of Audio. When Voice replaces Touch as the way we communicate using screen-less connected devices, marketers will need new strategies to build their brands. Audio is the one medium which reaches consumers across any device, any time, to deliver true cross-platform messaging.

Gabe Tartaglia

Gabe Tartaglia @gabetartaglia

VP Sales, Pandora

Digital SummitPresentation:Engaging in A Connected World Through the Power of Audio

Supercharge Content Reach

When content promotion is treated as an afterthought, it’s like putting water in your gas tank. To supercharge content reach, take the time to create an amplification strategy that is creative, optimized and focused on the customer experience.

Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman @azeckman

Digital Strategy Director, TopRank Marketing

Digital SummitPresentation:Mastering the Perfect Content Recipe

Focus on the Now of Search

Be relevant in the moment! Use Google Analytics and Search Console to find the top pages driving non-brand, organic traffic and conversion. Improve engagement on page by adding or updating the content to focus on the now. Build internal links to those pages from new or existing content that supports that topic.

Jacob Hagberg

Jacob Hagberg @jacobhagberg

Digital Marketing Strategist, SEMRush

Digital SummitPresentation:Real-World SEO Examples Every Digital Marketer Can Learn From

Design Sprints FTW

Design thinking compels marketers to leverage the creativity of those around them. To make your next campaign truly innovative and deeply relevant, brainstorm-or better yet, do a design sprint-with colleagues in other departments that interact with your customers differently than you.

Cliff Seal

Cliff Seal @cliffseal

UX Lead Salesforce, Pardot

Digital SummitPresentation:Death to Boring B2B Marketing: Driving Innovation with Design Thinking

Human Influence

Be human influencers do not want to work with a brand that treats them like a commodity. Invest a bit of yourself and humanize your brand. This dedication and compassion will keep your influencers active, loyal, and engaged, even when the contract is complete.

Samantha Hersil

Samantha Hersil @shersil

Associate Marketing Manager Schwinn Bicycles

Digital SummitPresentation:How Brands Can Work with Microinfluencers

Don’t forget, if you’re attending Digital Summit Minneapolis, you won’t want to miss the closing keynote on Tuesday at 4:05pm: Supercharge Your Content with Influencer Marketing. The deck cover is below and after the conference, I will swap it out with an embed from SlideShare.

Supercharge Digital Marketing

Here’s the abstract for the presentation so you can get an idea of what it’s about:

Content is both king and kingdom in the marketing world but what good is great content if no one sees it? Confronted by information overload, distrust in advertising and the growth of ad blocking, successful companies are adding an essential ingredient to their content marketing mix: influencers. By co-creating content with trusted experts that have active networks, brands increase both quality and quantity of credible content that is trusted by customers and stands out from the competition.Thispresentation will outline a framework, best practices, tools and examples for integrating influencers with content marketing that will help marketers attract, engage and convert more customers.

BONUS! Be sure to register for the Supercharged Marketing Cocktail Hour being hosted by TopRank Marketing on Monday night, August 14th.


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15 Ways to Supercharge Your Digital Marketing #DSMPLS | http://www.toprankblog.com

The post 15 Ways to Supercharge Your Digital Marketing #DSMPLS appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank.

Digital Marketing News: Social Video, Google Consumer Confidence & Content’s Influence

Everything You Need to Know About Using Video in Social Marketing [Infographic]

We often hear how engaging videos are on social media – but there’s certainly a trick to getting it right for your audience. This infographic shows highlights from a recent study from Animoto, where 1,000 consumers sounded off on what they wanted to see. MarketingProfs

2017 Google Consumer Confidence Report

Digital Examiner recently conducted a survey to determine how much consumers trust the information they are served in Google search results. The trust for Google remains high despite recent commentary surrounding alleged biases, with 72% of consumers saying they trust search results. Digital Examiner

How Content Influences the Purchasing Process: Tips for Content Marketers [Research]

CMI and SmartBrief teamed up to create new research that reveals how content influences the purchasing process. The research found that 81% of buyers say they conduct their own research before bringing in a vendor, and 62% wanted content that speaks to their needs and pain points. You can read more analysis of the study on the TopRank Marketing blog. Content Marketing Institute

The Remarkable Rise of Influencer Marketing [Infographic]

In an effort to understand the current state of influencer marketing, Influencer Marketing Hub conducted an online survey. They report: “The results are definitely optimistic, indicating that influencer marketing is truly mainstream, on an upwards trajectory as a preferred method of marketing.” Influencer Marketing Hub

Coming Soon: Website Demographics

LinkedIn has announced that they’ll soon release Website Demographics to allow brands to better understand their audience, create tailored content based on resonance, and reach ideal prospects. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

Google Said to Offer Publishers A New YouTube Deal

AdAge reports: “[YouTube] is offering major publishers who choose its backend video player the ability to control ad sales both on their sites and on YouTube, according to people familiar with the new offering.” AdAge

Twitter Is Testing a Feature That Lets Brands Automate Their Promoted Tweets

Twitter is beta testing a program for brands that will allow them to automatically promote their Tweets. The targeting options are limited, and the platform will choose which Tweets to sponsor on behalf of the brand. This new program costs $99 per month for those interested.AdWeek

Facebook will Rank Links to Slow-loading Pages Lower in People’s News Feeds

For brands with a slow website, the past few years have been pretty tough. Now, Facebook joins in on the movement toward better UX by tweaking its news feed algorithm to penalize links to slow-loading websites. Marketing Land

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news! As always, if you need more in the meantime follow @toprank on Twitter or subscribe to the TopRank Marketing blog for daily insights to your inbox.

The post Digital Marketing News: Social Video, Google Consumer Confidence & Content’s Influence appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank.

Digital Marketing News: Social Video, Google Consumer Confidence & Content’s Influence

Everything You Need to Know About Using Video in Social Marketing [Infographic]

We often hear how engaging videos are on social media – but there’s certainly a trick to getting it right for your audience. This infographic shows highlights from a recent study from Animoto, where 1,000 consumers sounded off on what they wanted to see. MarketingProfs

2017 Google Consumer Confidence Report

Digital Examiner recently conducted a survey to determine how much consumers trust the information they are served in Google search results. The trust for Google remains high despite recent commentary surrounding alleged biases, with 72% of consumers saying they trust search results. Digital Examiner

How Content Influences the Purchasing Process: Tips for Content Marketers [Research]

CMI and SmartBrief teamed up to create new research that reveals how content influences the purchasing process. The research found that 81% of buyers say they conduct their own research before bringing in a vendor, and 62% wanted content that speaks to their needs and pain points. You can read more analysis of the study on the TopRank Marketing blog. Content Marketing Institute

The Remarkable Rise of Influencer Marketing [Infographic]

In an effort to understand the current state of influencer marketing, Influencer Marketing Hub conducted an online survey. They report: “The results are definitely optimistic, indicating that influencer marketing is truly mainstream, on an upwards trajectory as a preferred method of marketing.” Influencer Marketing Hub

Coming Soon: Website Demographics

LinkedIn has announced that they’ll soon release Website Demographics to allow brands to better understand their audience, create tailored content based on resonance, and reach ideal prospects. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions

Google Said to Offer Publishers A New YouTube Deal

AdAge reports: “[YouTube] is offering major publishers who choose its backend video player the ability to control ad sales both on their sites and on YouTube, according to people familiar with the new offering.” AdAge

Twitter Is Testing a Feature That Lets Brands Automate Their Promoted Tweets

Twitter is beta testing a program for brands that will allow them to automatically promote their Tweets. The targeting options are limited, and the platform will choose which Tweets to sponsor on behalf of the brand. This new program costs $99 per month for those interested.AdWeek

Facebook will Rank Links to Slow-loading Pages Lower in People’s News Feeds

For brands with a slow website, the past few years have been pretty tough. Now, Facebook joins in on the movement toward better UX by tweaking its news feed algorithm to penalize links to slow-loading websites. Marketing Land

What were your top digital marketing news stories this week?

We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news! As always, if you need more in the meantime follow @toprank on Twitter or subscribe to the TopRank Marketing blog for daily insights to your inbox.

The post Digital Marketing News: Social Video, Google Consumer Confidence & Content’s Influence appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank.