Hot on the heels of raising $5.5 million in venture capital funding, new social upstart Ello -- hoping to achieve the precarious balance between remaining a truly ad-free social network and financial feasibility -- has converted to a Public Benefit Corporation. What does this mean? Should we all be super-excited? Let’s take a look.
Paul Budnitz, Ello CEO. Image via Re/codePromises, Promises: Ello Raises $5.5 Million in VC FundingThe funding news should come as little surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. After all, at the height of the Ello buzz (which seems to have been a couple of weeks ago), the site was reportedly being bombarded with as many as 50,000 membership requests per hour. According to Re/code, which broke the news about Ello’s successful round of funding, the s... > Read more
To be successful in any type of advertising, whether it be digital, radio, or out-of-home, you must keep tabs on your competitors and their tactics. If they are advertising on the subway, chances are you should be too. Likewise, if they are targeting a specific keyword in PPC, so should you.Via PaulThere are a lot of free benchmarks for data available to all AdWords users.
Here are four of my favorite tools for analyzing your AdWords competition.Auction InsightsThe Auction Insights report allows you to look at who else is bidding on your keywords. You can see impression shares, average position, overlap rate, position above rate, and top of page rate that each competitor has on a particular keyword. With this information, you can effectively better manage your own bids in comparison to who... > Read more
Our blog is a HUGE inbound marketing channel for us, driving over half a million visits every month through sources including organic search, referral links, social and email promotion. HubSpot built a whole platform around the power of blogging for inbound lead gen, and they “eat their own dog food” – tech speak for practicing what you preach.
Together, the WordStream and HubSpot blogs drive millions of views every month, and all that top of funnel traffic builds brand awareness, feeds our email and remarketing lists and more! In short, a successful blog is marketing gold.Next week, we’re going to show you how we do it. In a free webinar, “How to Drive a Million Monthly Blog Visits,” Ginny Soskey, a blog editor at HubSpot, and I (the content marketing manager here at WordStream... > Read more
When it comes to thought leadership in the digital marketing space, there is certainly no shortage of material out there. Not only are there numerous publications dedicated to providing new insights and guidance to marketers, but most agencies are also generating content. With each of these groups pumping out multiple articles a week, the internet is flooded with AdWords advice.
At this point, it feels as though the web is oversaturated with digital marketers’ blogposts, whitepapers, cheat sheets…the whole nine yards. And what’s worse is that nearly every article holds the promise of a “magical solution” or a “secret sauce” to help you beat out the competition or double your ROI. When I first started working in paid search, I read this content religiously and yes, I drank the ... > Read more
With social media as steadfast cornerstone of nearly all marketing (regardless of industry), there’s cutthroat competition for attention across all social networks.You need all the help you can get to promote your content on social media and be noticed. We’re singling out 24 tools, recommended by industry experts and marketing mavericks, that are promised to supercharge your social endeavors.
1. Infogr.amA sweet tool to help you make snazzy looking infographics in a matter of minutes. While you won’t be able to have ultimate customization, with plenty of graphics to choose from and some great drag-and-drop vector art, it’s a fine place for those who want a simple, high-quality looking infographic.The free version lets you share your infographic and embed it on your website. To ... > Read more
Have you ever noticed that Google loves experimenting with different ad variations in the SERPs? Usually these tests are impromptu and short-lived, but Google recently announced a new mobile ad format that is here to stay. Here are the details you need to know to stay ahead of the curve.The New Mobile Ad Format: What’s Changing?As of last month, Google began displaying ads in the mobile search results pages in which ad extensions are substituted in place of the second line of ad text.
Check out the example that they published below. As you can see, the new mobile ad format lost the second line of text and now includes a location extension in its place.Don’t worry, Google won’t be scrapping their standard mobile text ad format completely – they’ll be serving both versions at their... > Read more
Getting prospective customers to do what you want them to do can be like herding cats. They abandon shopping carts before checking out, they don’t sign up for your beautifully written newsletter, and they don’t even have the common courtesy to read your blog posts all the way to the end.However, there is hope.
To get your prospects to do what you want, all you have to do is include a compelling call to action. Simple, right? Well, it’s actually harder than it sounds. Fortunately, there are many companies who have already done the hard work of A/B testing their calls to action, so you don’t have to.In today’s post, I’m going to show you 11 kick-ass call to action examples, and explain why they work so well. So grab a coffee, a pen and paper, and get ready for the deluge of conve... > Read more
Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in Pubcon Las Vegas, one of the world’s largest, most popular digital marketing conferences. Before shipping out for the event, I read a few “surviving Pubcon” guides and the most commonly shared piece of advice was to plan ahead and map out exactly which sessions you plan to attend.
When I arrived, it became very apparent that this was a wise move. There were multiple tracks so, at any point during the 4-day event, attendees had the option of listening to one of six presentations, roaming the exhibit hall or networking with fellow attendees.Although I tried to stick with my meticulously planned schedule, it was tough. There were tons of interesting presentations so I frantically bounced from room to room trying to fit everything in. By... > Read more
What makes an outstanding presentation? One that pushes you to think from a new perspectives? One without an endless string of snooze-worthy PowerPoint slides?Perhaps gaining actionable items to implement and grow your business?Nope, you guessed wrong.According to the self-proclaimed poster boy of content marketing, Joe Pulizzi, a great presentation is one you go into with low expectations.
For instance, if you expect to go home with one actionable item, but instead go home with two (i.e. it exceeds your expectations).As marketers and business owners, you’ve probably attended your fair share of unfortunate presentations. As an avid public speaker, Pulizzi’s goal is the make sure this is not the case. Last week I found myself slurping down a lukewarm cup of coffee in the cozy wine cella... > Read more
The paid search landscape is fraught with risks and opportunities. But how do you know which risks to address first? Simply digging your way through the mass of PPC data available can be a huge chore.More importantly though, how can you pinpoint and take advantage of the opportunities offering the greatest rewards when the competition is stiff and constantly changing?We talk a great deal here at WordStream about paid search best practices – it's critically important that you get those ducks in a row if you want to see any success in PPC.
Beyond the basics, though, you need a comprehensive and holistic strategy to not only keep up with the competition, but leave them in the dust.Next Tuesday, October 21, Michael Stricker from SEMrush and I are hosting an exclusive webinar to help you do j... > Read more
I’d be willing to wager that you sleep with your mobile device mere inches from your pillow. You likely check your phone upon waking up, waiting for the train, and while scarfing down your turkey sandwich during your lunch break. It’s OK to admit that we’re all addicted to our smartphones, but what does it mean for your search marketing strategy?Take a look at these stats showing how mobile and search tie together:According to a recent Google study, 74% of mobile consumers used a search engine as part of the research process.
93% of people who used mobile to research go on to make a purchase (source: Google).52% of mobile shoppers realize they buy more with cross-channel personalization (source: MyBuys).And mobile is only predicted to grow:Local mobile searches (85.9 billion) are expe... > Read more
I recently had the pleasure of hosting a webinar on lead generation strategies with the incredibly knowledgeable Tim Paige, Conversion Educator at LeadPages.LeadPages is a dynamic software company headquartered in Minneapolis – and they're growing fast. They just launched in 2012 and already have millions in revenue from over 30,000 customers.
LeadPages hit a $3.5 million run rate nine months after launching and are now growing at a rate of about 20% each month.Tim and I got together to share the lead generation strategies we've used to build our companies far quicker than most are able to achieve. My own company, WordStream, is now seven years old and has grown 677% in the last three years, to $6.6 million in annual revenue.So how do you DO that?Have a look at what LeadPages learned fro... > Read more
Here at WordStream, we occasionally do a “Make a Wish” exercise where everyone gets to make a few (work-related) wishes and we try our best to make them a reality. Recently, I wished to hire a data scientist for the content marketing team. And lo and behold, my wish has been granted! We’re planning to hire for a new data scientist role in early 2015.
I had a lot of questions about how data science works in conjunction with content marketing, so I turned to one of the best in the field: Peter Meyers at Moz, perhaps better known by his Twitter handle Dr. Pete. Pete was kind enough to answer all my questions about what a data scientist does, what data science tools he uses, the ethics of data science and more.Peter Meyers is a cognitive psychologist and resident Marketing Scientist at Mo... > Read more
Read to the end of this blog post to receive $1 million!Oh, if only that were true. I’d probably read through more than once. However, now that I have you thinking about the proper way to motivate someone, I’d like to share some tips on how to craft a clear and engaging call-to-action (CTA) for your marketing campaigns.
What Is a Call to Action in Marketing?Your call to action is the part of your advertisement that tells your target audience what they should be doing once they click on your PPC ad and hit your website or landing page. The simplest example of a call to action is "Buy now!" The more information you can provide your potential customers with your CTA, the better it will be for all parties involved. You can let your audience know what to expect when they click on your ad, an... > Read more
Since former NSA analyst Edward Snowden leaked evidence of the security agency’s covert surveillance of millions of Americans to journalist Glenn Greenwald last year, online privacy has become one of the tech sector’s most contentious issues.Few issues in tech are as polarizing as online privacy, but the topic goes far beyond opinions about the security of personal data or how it should be used.
In fact, online privacy (or the lack thereof) is shaping the future of search, whether you realize it or not.Advertisers are desperate to plumb the depths of people’s personal lives in search of more accurate targeting, while many users are balking at how the monoliths of the tech sector are gathering, storing, and using their information. But what does the future hold, and should you be worr... > Read more
Some of the most popular questions I hear from clients are “What are your recommendations for long-tail keywords?” and “How do I go about finding long-tail keywords?” It seems as though there is some notion leading people to believe there is a magical secret to long-tail keywords. Well, you’re in luck because I am here to tell you that there really is no secret, but rather just a few best practices you should know before beginning your search for long-tails keywords.
As you read on, I will dispel some common long-tail keyword myths and point you in the right direction for keyword research and discovery.Myth #1: The longer tailed the keyword, the betterI sense that the instinctual thought about long-tail keywords is that they need to be fairly long because that’s the only way th... > Read more
As marketers, we know all too well that not all clicks are created equal. Not every ad impression will truly leave an impression and not all visitors to our site will convert. That’s why it’s important to know your target market and understand how to cater to your key demographics.Advertisers on the Google Display Network have the ability to view their performance by a user’s gender, age range, or, starting recently, parental status.
And while this was great insight into whom we were reaching with our ads, we were limited to view our demographic performance by only one demographic at a time. Complex decisions, like deciding whether you wanted to cater your campaign to target younger mothers (with presumably younger children) or older bachelors, are difficult when you can only view on... > Read more
Kids are punks. For their first few months, they make their introduction to the world screaming like Britney Spears off auto-tune, and gobble Gerber like they’re sponsored by Nestle. Soon come supermarket tantrums, and increasing elaborate birthday themes met with mild response. Thank god we love them.
As they grow, their sneaky pranks evolve, and it’s ever more common for those to include technology.When it comes to the world of PPC, I bet you thought you were safe, didn’t you? If you’re like most advertisers, you didn’t even see it coming. If you’re running Display campaigns in your AdWords account without the proper settings, these little buggers (and other users as well) could be costing you a chunk of money! Let me show you how…Why Google Ads in Mobile Apps Are Dangerous... > Read more
There is an endless supply of data coming from AdWords; sometimes combing through all this data can be a little daunting. It can be easy to get lost in all of it and not really know what you should be focusing on:What is and isn’t working?Where is your money being wasted?Where can you step on the gas?Here are a few simple reports that you can run in AdWords that will help you weed through all the data and make some quick decisions.
AdWords Report #1: Top Vs. OtherWhere To Find ItYou can find it on the campaign, ad groups, keywords, and ads tabs in the “Segment” drop down.What It Shows The report will show you what your performance looks like at either the “Top” positions (usually positions 1 through 3) or the “Other” positions (usually to the left of or below the search ... > Read more
Groucho Marx famously joked that the English mnemonic that begins, ‘Thirty days hath September…” was his favorite poem because it actually tells us something. While it certainly didn’t feel as though September had thirty days this year (for me, anyway), September did indeed teach us a lot – especially about search, as evidenced by our most popular posts of the month.
Image © SixelaOtamaGrab a warm pumpkin-flavored beverage (yes, I’m going to continue milking the pumpkin beverage joke for the remainder of the fall), sit back, and check out WordStream’s most popular posts of September.1. Mandatory Google+ Gmail Integration Quietly Shelved: For the third consecutive month, Larry earned the top spot in our blog by breaking the news about Google’s decision to (very) quietly deco... > Read more
Don’t have many bucks to spend on your biz? No worries – there are plenty of marketing tactics you can make use of that won’t blow your budget. Let’s see how far you can stretch those dollars! Here are 20+ marketing ideas for small businesses working on a small budget.1. Publish Great Content.
I don’t think I even need to say this, but it’d be neglectful not to mention the importance of kick-ass content. If you can create it yourself, all the better (isn’t free always better?). Even if writing isn’t your strong point, you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting someone on your team to crank out some articles for your blog. Try top 10 lists, tip collections, best practices for your industry, etc. I shared a bunch of creative content marketing ideas here, and Elisa recently... > Read more
AdWords advertisers struggle constantly to keep pace in an ever-changing industry, where Google likes to switch things up with hundreds of changes to the platform each year.What if you could cut through all the noise, seriously reduce your learning curve, and cut straight to the heart of the most effective and impactful PPC marketing tactics?I recently led a webinar with Thue Madsen from KissMetrics and shared the 10 top PPC marketing hacks you need to optimize your pay-per-click strategy today.
You can keep tweaking copy and testing button placement forever, but those minor changes won't have near the impact as these.Here we go: these are my all-time top 10 PPC advertising hacks.AdWords Hack #1: Optimize Quality Score!Google wants you to think QS isn't all that important, but we know bett... > Read more
By now, Advertising Week’s 11th annual conference (AWXI) is in full swing across Manhattan’s most upscale venues. Delegates (or “Super Delegates,” depending on how much your company splashed out for your pass) have descended on the Big Apple to hear speakers such as Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer, Cosmopolitan’s Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles, and even insufferable celebrity chef Jamie Oliver wax lyrical about the future of advertising.
However, what everyone really wants to hear about is Facebook’s new advertising platform, Atlas. Larry explained what this new system involves last week. Advertisers are practically salivating at the prospect of being able to target specific users with highly customized marketing messages, a practice that Jonathan Nelson, CEO of Atlas early adopter... > Read more
Have you ever heard the expression “less is more”? I find this to be extremely true when it comes to the keywords in your PPC account. Now, depending on who you ask, you’ll hear a different response for the age-old question: “How many keywords should I have in my AdWords account?” When it comes to ad groups, the typical answer is somewhere in the 20-25 keyword range, and definitely no more than 30 keywords per ad group.
Keep in mind that this is a loose guideline, and isn’t anything that is set in stone. The important thing at the end of the day is that the keywords in each ad group are closely related to one another, so that you can create super-specific ad copy.I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t serve you to bloat your PPC account with too many keywords. There is defini... > Read more
Growing up with a large stack of Martha Stewart magazines scattered around my family coffee table, and learning how to bake my first batch of homemade brownies alongside the crafting legend, I would’ve never thought I would someday be in the presence of such a successful and influential entrepreneur.
Not only did I watch with awe as Martha Stewart graced the stage of HubSpot’s annual Inbound conference last week, but I even enjoyed an organic breakfast with the household name. Martha opened up her keynote by making green juice on stage as shot-glass sized cups were passed along to the audience to sample.To me Martha is the queen of entertaining, crafting and building a brand centered around her identify. As she addressed the audience I felt a sense of familiarity, like we’ve known ea... > Read more
As much as we may hate to admit it, the rules are always different for small businesses.Most of our clients fit in the small-to-medium-sized bucket, and hey, we’re right there in that bucket with you. So it’s worthwhile to acknowledge when the best practices that work for big brands don’t really apply to us little guys.
Today I’ll be discussing some content marketing “rules” that it’s OK for small businesses to break.Supposed Best Practice #1: You Need a Content Marketing StrategyThis is the content marketing rule I hear over and over again, and it’s starting to grate on me as much as “content is king” and other hackneyed marketing clichés. (Apologies to my strategy wonk friends.)There are a few problems with the “you need a content strategy” refrain. First, it’s ... > Read more
Industry thought leaders in the search marketing space have long speculated about how Facebook can compete with Google in terms of its lucrative advertising business. Well, according to recent reports, Facebook could soon surpass Google in terms of its remarketing capabilities with the launch of its Atlas advertising platform.
Image via nettramarketing.comFacebook Putting Google Under PressureFacebook Ads certainly has come a long way in two years. According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook will unveil the revamped Atlas system next week. Facebook originally acquired the Atlas Advertiser Suite from Microsoft last year, and the new platform promises to be a reengineered version of Microsoft’s former product.So what’s the big deal? For starters, Facebook’s Atlas system is capable of... > Read more
If you’ve experienced success with paid search, you may have given thought to social media advertising. Increasing numbers of small businesses are branching out into paid social, and the diversification of online advertising into social media channels can be seen everywhere.Image credit: KDDIHowever, if you run a small business, you might be wondering whether social media advertising is a good fit, especially if your current advertising budget is stretched thin.
What ad types will be most effective for your business? Which network has the greatest potential reach? Which platform has the most competitive CPA? These are all important questions for people who are thinking about social media advertising, so in this post, we’re going to dive deep into the data and examine the pros and cons ... > Read more
Are you working in a niche B2B industry attempting to generate leads (that hopefully convert) through your PPC efforts? In that case, I can assume that you are also on the verge of throwing a baseball at your computer. Am I right? PPC is challenging enough, but with the added long sales cycle, high competition, and niche audience, getting leads from AdWords can make your sanity spin off the deep-end.
All too often I find this to be true with clients specifically in the software or SaaS industry. Gaining leads is a challenge in itself and definitely does not mean that a conversion is likely to follow. For example, searchers looking to purchase software don’t just hop online, search for their business need, and hit “Buy Now.” Software services typically a) are expensive and b) have long... > Read more
When the classic strategies aren’t delivering, you send in the guerrillas. They’re the extra-special forces – the ones that implement killer strategies to turn the tide and defeat the enemy.Guerrilla marketing is a great alternative to traditional marketing. It thrives on original thinking and creativity, where imagination and ingenuity beat out big budgets.
Guerrilla marketing tends to be cheaper than traditional marketing, relying on smaller, more localized brick and mortar strategies like:Graffiti: Graffiti marketing uses city streets and alleyways as a giant canvas. While smaller, more covert operations will make their mark wherever they want, for most businesses it’s recommended to get permission from a property owner before going Monet on the walls of their establishmen... > Read more