Improve first impressions with optimized landing pages

Written by , contributor to Mashable, Forbes, the Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Business Insider and others:
 landing page

When using Google AdWords, Facebook ads or other forms of paid online advertising; it’s important to make use of landing pages to create one cohesive experience from your ads to your website.

Quite often a visitor’s initial interaction with your business is a landing page, which is why it’s so important to make an impactful first impression.

A landing page is a simple page on your website a person visits after clicking on an ad. The landing page has no top level navigation to distract a person, but instead a form or call-to-action button instructing a visitor to take one specific action.

Outbrain Landing Page 730x498 Improve first impressions with optimized landing pages

There are other elements to the page to help improve the likelihood that a visitor completes the desired action like signing up for a newsletter, downloading an eBook or otherwise.

Landing pages can be extensively optimized using A/B testing to more effectively convert qualified leads for your business. Whether that entails changing the color of a button or moving the location of a logo.

According to Marketing Charts, marketers allocating more of their budget to optimization tend to have more success with their conversion rates. It’s evident that investing in creating the landing page that’s just right for your business is critical for the success of your ad campaigns and driving more leads into the sales pipeline.

Here’s are the first steps to finding success with your landing pages.

1. Use a simple, yet thorough form

Sign Up Form Improve first impressions with optimized landing pages

Using a simple form on your landing pages will make the sign-up process much more streamlined.

Include a few fields to gather pertinent information like a leads name, email address and website.

Make sure to find a happy medium between gathering enough information about a lead to ensure they are qualified and keeping the process simple to make the interaction as easy as possible for a lead to complete.

2. Include a description with bulleted benefits

The offer your landing page is promoting should be clear whether it’s to download a resource or sign up for an email list.

Netflix Landing Page 730x490 Improve first impressions with optimized landing pages

The benefits a person gets from supplying their information to your company should be evident in a bulleted list or highlighted text on the landing page.

By bringing these benefits to the attention of a visitor, they’re more likely to convert and claim your offer.

3. Highlight your brand with images or video

The landing page should remain simple, but that certainly doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be branded inline with your company’s aesthetic.

Brand the landing page to match the look and feel of your website and other online properties to help create one consistent experience for your audience, wherever they interact with your business.

Use images or video to highlight the advantages of signing up, using these visual elements as a trailer for what your business is has to offer.

4. Add trust elements

Videos and images can help build the trust of a visitor, especially a first-time visitor, who needs convincing to take an action with your business.

Trust elements are any items on a landing page that help establish the credibility of your company and its expertise including testimonials, logos of past clients or customers, awards won, certifications and more to build a stronger context for a visitor during their initial interactions with your business.

5. Synch your ads with your landing page

Include similar messaging and branding on your ads and your landing pages to increase conversions since you’re offering one consistent experience to visitors from each point of the funnel.

Pizza Hut FB Ad Improve first impressions with optimized landing pages

This will require the creation of a few different ads and landing pages to ensure each segment of your audience has messaging that’s relevant to the context of that group of visitor’s journey online and their individual demographics.

Offering a cohesive experience from an ad to a landing page is important because there are no surprises for a visitor, leading them through a path that is expected and connected. Providing a consistent experience for your audience reduces the bounce rate since your ad copy accurately explains what a person should expect on a particular landing page.

6. Alter your call-to-action

Create a call-to-action button for your landing page that is directly associated with the purpose of the landing page. For example, if you’re trying to get users to download your white paper then the call-to-action button might be download.

Call to action Improve first impressions with optimized landing pages

Many businesses make the mistake of going with subscribe as a default copy for their call-to-action button, which isn’t quite specific enough and leads to a loss in conversions.

7. Focus on being mobile friendly

Besides removing the top header navigation from your landing page to focus a visitor into converting, it’s also important that these pages be mobile friendly.

recent study by Flurry found that Americans spend 162 minutes on their mobile devices per day, which supports the likelihood that they’ll probably access your landing pages from their mobile phone.

The ideal situation is to have a responsive designed website that resizes to suit the device being used by the user to provide the best experience. By having an optimized experience, it’s easier for a user to interact with your landing pages on mobile and therefore, increases the likelihood of a conversion.

8. Consistently A/B test

Regularly A/B testing your landing pages to figure out what elements work best to drive conversions is important to continue to see results from your ad campaigns.

Start by having a hypothesis that your team can effectively test. Next, create two versions of the same landing page with only one variable altered (like the placement of a photo or the number of fields on the signup form) to begin testing to see which resonates better with your audience.

Your organization can always reap the benefits of A/B testing because no landing page will ever fully be optimized, since it’s an ongoing process with constant iterations and room for improvement.

The Unique Value of Facebook: What’s In It For Your Brand?

Written by

In 2014, Facebook celebrated its 10th anniversary, making it one of the leading social platforms and a pioneer in social advertising. In those ten years, it’s gone from a college-only niche experience to a connected community for the entire world.

In our new e-book, The Unique Value of Facebook, we look closely at the ways Facebook connects you with your customers—and more than likely, a huge number of your potential customers are on Facebook!

This chart shows the huge surge in global numbers of Facebook users.

With over a billion active monthly users around the world, it’s likely that your customers, in any nation, are either regularly using Facebook or have close family and friends who do. An audience so large and highly engaged presents many opportunities for advertisers to reach both their ideal target segments and grow into markets using various sophisticated targeting and optimization features in the Facebook Ads offering.


Facebook owns mobile.
One in five minutes on a mobile device is spent in Facebook’s app, which doesn’t include time spent on Facebook’s mobile website.

Facebook web access is strong.
Eleven percent of desktop web time is spent on Facebook, making it the largest social web property in the world.

The Facebook audience is vast.
Facebook has approximately 1.3 billion monthly active users, which dwarfs any channel in recorded history.

Facebook refers a ton of traffic.
Facebook accounts for up to 10% of referral traffic to major publishers.

Video and Facebook work together.
Facebook is the #2 video property online, behind only Google sites (led, of course, by YouTube).

With numbers like these, it’s clear why brands continue to flock to Facebook to reach potential and current brand fans. For new ideas on how to capitalize on the many available features of the world’s most popular social network, check out our charts and examples of Facebook’s unique value.

The Ultimate Entrepreneur’s SEO Checklist for 2014

Written by , Author of “Social PR Secrets“:

Swim With the Sharks - Entrepreneurs SEO Guide

For entrepreneurs looking to swim with the SEO sharks; think of this business rule:

Always ask yourself how someone could preempt your products or service. How can they put you out of business? Is it price? Is it service? Is it SEO? Is it social?

That’s an inspired lesson that Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” co-host Mark Cuban shares in his book “How to Win at the Sport of Business”.

Taking Cuban’s business advice to the murky waters of the SEO world, entrepreneurs should ask themselves:

  • Is my SEO and social media marketing playing at junior varsity levels compared to the competition?
  • Who is in charge of my SEO team and how much skin should I have in the game?
  • Do the same search engine optimization strategies work like they did in 2013?
  • How do I score more traffic to my website?
  • How do I build an effective social media fan base?

Depending on who you ask, you just may get different answers ¬– and results!

Here’s some advice for business leaders looking for the ultimate entrepreneur SEO checklist for 2014.

Entrepreneur SEO Checklist

Hire In-House or an SEO/Social Agency?

Depending on who you ask, the pros and cons to hiring an in-house SEO or dedicated social media talent versus an agency or consultant may vary depending on opinion, budget, business plan, and industries.

Let’s face it, the number of self-proclaimed SEO “magicians” and social media “gurus” can be disenchanting and cause more digital injuries than any entrepreneur can imagine. But hiring the right talent and having a team that follows best SEO practices and delivers the level of social media punch that your community cares about can be key to beating the competition.

What should an entrepreneur know when hiring an SEO/social agency or search professional? Bruce Clay, president of Bruce Clay Inc., offers this checklist:

  • Never hire any agency selling links as that will lead to penalties. Links should happen because you earn them, and never because you negotiate them.
  • Be sure to check referrals from clients.
  • Be sure that the agency is mentoring you on their changes instead of vague descriptions of what they are doing. And remember that the cheaper you want it, the cheaper you get it – marketing that beats your million competitors is never inexpensive.

Don’t just ask for references, interview those references. “The biggest mistake businesses tend to make is acting too fast,” added Duane Forrester, Bing’s Senior Product Manager. “We need to move this forward, or get started on this work ASAP is a common frame of mind. Plan in time to interview an agency or consultants references.”

Social Media Agency Wanted! Now What?

It might feel good to stay with the familiar faces of tradition, the marketing agency your old boss used and loved or the one in business for the longest number of years. But buyer beware.

There are more PR and traditional ad agencies than ever jumping on the search and social bandwagon ready to take a bite out of this new business opportunity.

“Shopping for a social media agency can be a tricky process because so many poser firms have hung ‘social media agency’ shingles. I find it extraordinary that some agencies making that claim have little background or depth actually executing social,” said Marty Weintraub, founder and evangelist of aimClear and ClickZ Live speaker

Use this checklist of questions to screen for social media fakes, phonies, and posers:

  • How many years of history does your agency have actually providing social media services to clients?
  • How does your social media management result in SEO success (social signals, links, SERPs)?
  • Please provide examples of standard social media reports. Where does the data come from?
  • Explain why Google+ is important and describe how your agency proposes to use Google+.

“Poser agencies have pretty websites claiming social media services, but they’re actually old-world firms staking a claim as a recovery tactic for the obsolescence of that agency’s previous service focus,” said Weintraub. They’re often entrenched PR, SEO, or link-building companies searching for new relevance.

The SEO Checklist and the Path of Least Resistance

Cuban, a billionaire entrepreneur who made part if his fortune with an Internet-based business solution, reminds entrepreneurs in his book:

Make your product easier to buy than your competition or you will find your customers buying from them, not you…this is why websites do anything they can to game the system on search engines top ranking. They know that no one is going to page through the thousands of results returned. Users pick from the first page or they pick from one of the sponsored pages.

Like in any business venture, it can be difficult to resist the immediate gratification of a paid search campaign and the flashy promises of an aggressive SEO campaign with short-lived ROI. Who better to ask than the person that helps manage Bing Webmaster Tools to debunk the SEO myths and misconception of SEO? Forrester offers entrepreneurs looking for search engine growth strategies this SEO checklist for inspiration in 2014 and into 2015:

  • SEO isn’t an overnight success story or a one-time effort. Like wealth-building, investing in SEO takes time and continued effort to earn full benefits.
  • Research targeted keywords, create a targeted list per page, and use them in multiple places (in key meta tags, folder and file names, etc.).
  • The title tag is one of the most important tags for SEO – put most valuable keywords at start, write unique titles for each page.
  • Write one keyword-rich H1 tag per page to serve as the page’s headline.
  • Write compelling meta descriptions for SERP snippets – this is what converts SERP impressions.
  • Every page should offer crawlable text for bots to create more keyword relevance.
  • Never put content to be crawled inside images, JavaScript, Silverlight, or Flash – search engine robots can’t read it.

The Sport of Business SEO in 2014: All Marked Up With Severe Penalties to Go

Forrester tells entrepreneurs:

  • Schema use by the engines is growing. By marking up a website, we gain a better understanding of content, enabling us to create richer search experiences that can lead to greatly increased click rates in the SERP. Win-win. But it starts with marking up your content. Skip that step and it’s a lot tougher getting an invitation to the ball.

Clay said:

  • Entrepreneurs need to beware of severe penalties that will block the businesses’ marketing playing field.
  • SEO damage control has become a new set of service offerings.
  • Incompetent SEO is resulting in a new set of service offerings for top-shelf agencies to repair the damage done by prior SEO services.

Avoid Search Penalties at All Cost!

“We have seen massive service business growth because of the closing of many inept SEO companies, and the need to perform services that will not get you into trouble. Playing safe and by the rules is now the only way for business to survive,” Clay said.

So how do you survive and swim the SEO sharks? Entrepreneurs can take the advice from the search and social experts as well as this checklist inspired by Cuban’s business book:

  • Expect the unexpected and always be ready. Don’t just set up your SEO and forget it! Ask for reports, pay attention to webmaster tools, and stay engaged with the industry following blogs.
  • It’s not whether the glass is half-empty or half-full, it’s who is pouring the water. Control your SEO destiny by staying in touch, having the right team behind you, and putting your customers first.
  • You only have to be right once. Getting found in search by the right investor, prospect, or media outlet can be that one business game-changer.


Chrome still most used across desktop and mobile, Firefox falls below Safari and IE

Written by Emil Protalinski, technology journalist writing for The Next Web:

Google Chrome’s logo is seen at Google’s

Social discovery and sharing platform Shareaholic today updated its browser share report, showing how the market has changed in the last eight months. While Chrome continues to dominate in desktop and mobile usage, the biggest change we noticed is that Firefox has dropped from second place to fourth, below both Safari and Internet Explorer.

Between the two reports, Chrome’s usage has remained flat, losing just 0.03 percentage points. As a result, it is still used more than Firefox, IE, and Opera combined. Firefox meanwhile lost 4.66 percentage points, Safari slipped 0.96 percentage points, and IE fell 3.13 percentage points.

Browser Share Report data May 2014 Chrome still most used across desktop and mobile, Firefox falls below Safari and IE

Here are Shareaholic’s three biggest takeaways from the results:

  • The Safari (in-app) browser and the stock Android browser were the only ones with meaningful growth. At this rate, the stock Android browser will soon challenge Firefox and Internet Explorer for a coveted “top 4″ spot on the list for most used browser.
  • More than half of the browsers tracked were in decline. Among the biggest losers were Internet Explorer and Firefox.
  • Opera cannibalized its own market share. Though Opera’s mobile browser (Opera Mini) was among the three browsers whose usage shares grew during this study, that came at a cost to the market share once held by Opera’s desktop browser.

The first point reminds us just how important mobile is in the browser market. It thus makes sense that Mozilla has developed Firefox OS: the company realizes it can’t compete with Google, Apple, and Microsoft if it doesn’t have its own operating system that comes with its browser.

Browser Share Report chart May 2014 Chrome still most used across desktop and mobile, Firefox falls below Safari and IE

Those who keep up-to-date with our monthly browser share posts (latest one is here) will note an obvious discrepancy between the figures. For example, IE is still by far the most popular browser, according to Net Applications.

First of all, Shareaholic tracked 250 million users visiting its network of 200,000 publishers while Net Applications captures data from 160 million unique visitors each month by monitoring some 40,000 websites for its clients. Next, Shareaholic is including mobile browsers in its data while Net Applications keeps desktop and mobile stats separate.

Most importantly though, Shareaholic’s data encompasses the usage of browsers by measuring how many webpages are viewed by each browser. Net Applications meanwhile looks at users by measuring how many people using each browser are viewing webpages. It’s important to make the distinction between usage and users if you plan to look at “market share” figures.

Top Image Credit: Kimihiro Hoshino/GettyImages

Break-Even CPC & Simple Landing Page Testing

Written by , Bing Ads Evangelist (aka “search nerd”) at Microsoft:

In the relentless hunt for more conversions, being number one has never been so important in a digital marketing. But how to can you get on top and stay there? That will require a combination of tactics.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is a great place to start, because your conversion rate drives a fundamental digital marketing formula – your break-even CPC.

Let’s dive into simple landing page improvements, then talk about reinvesting gains into your PPC strategy:

  • The break-even CPC calculation.
  • Review the 10 elements of a landing page.
  • Breakdown a simple example of call-to-action testing on a button.

Break-Even CPC = CPA Goal x Conversion Rate

Improving your conversion rate has benefits, but here’s how it can improve your PPC strategy.

Let’s say you increase your conversion rate from 5 percent to 6 percent. In simple terms, that means for every 100 clicks, you now get six customers instead of five. That’s an extra customer, but for the same spend. Nice.

That means, you’re making more money. Making more money means you can: Pocket the extra cash (more profit), or now, you can increase the amount you pay (bid) for keywords or placements.

Turns out there is a very simple equation that can help you determine the maximum you can pay per click and break even. And a big part of that break-even formula depends on conversion rate.

Break-Even CPC

In search, when you increase your bid, you can move up in position. When you move up in position, the amount of clicks you receive increases (as does your CPC). Your clicks cost more, potentially eating into your newly minted profits, but you’re taking share – a very good thing.

This is why optimizing your conversion rate is so important – it drives bid. Your bid helps determine your position, or your profitability. To be able to be in the top spots, you have to be able to afford it! And the break-even CPC calculation is the foundation of advanced bid strategies.

10 Elements of a Landing Page

How can we improve conversion rate? Landing pages are a great place to start.

With user-friendly, affordable tools like Optimizely, Unbounce, and more, landing page testing is easier than ever. But there are so many components to test, how do we make sense of it all?

First, let’s break down what Bryan Eisenberg refers to as the 10 Elements of a Landing Page:

  1. Logo (Who Are You?)
  2. Headline
  3. Offer
  4. Persuasive Copy
  5. Product Presentation
  6. Call to Action
  7. Confidence Signals
  8. Contact Information
  9. Product Evaluation Information
  10. Basic Template Elements

Eisenberg says the goal is to have 10 of 10 landing page elements. But to start, select the top three elements and make sure they flow together and are easy to view on the page.

Let’s jump into an example focusing on call to action.

Call to Action: Simple Button Test

Now even within the 10 elements listed above, there are countless tests where you can change images, copy, buttons, overall design, colors, and so forth. Where do you start?

Let’s go over a very simple test. Recently Bing Ads ran a call-to-action button test. The button test included the terms “Sign up,” “Get started,” and “Launch your campaigns.” While “Sign up” was the control term, “Get started” and “Launch your campaigns” are active and visual in a positive way that “Sign up” isn’t. So which test won?

The results of the test, conducted over a high-traffic three-week period, were clear.

All three landing pages were served an equal number of times during the test period; the page using “Launch your campaign” performed 11 percent better than the control. That makes a difference over time.

There are countless other tests to run, for example varying button color or size. Turns out that “Launch your campaigns” on the button is significantly larger than “Sign up.”

The big takeaway here is a very small change can make a difference – just test something. Because if you can drive an 11 percent gain in efficiently converting customers, as we talked about earlier, that has implications on paid media strategy.

Go Do This Now

Pick one element on your landing page to test.

  • Test three different versions of that element, keeping a control to evaluate against.
  • Track results until statistically significant (see #14), likely three to four weeks.
  • Re-work your landing page to incorporate the successful element.
  • Pick another element on your landing page to test.
  • Repeat steps 2 to 4 until your landing page is as excellent as it can be.
  • Reinvest your gains with higher bids to take share, or enjoy the extra profits.

Everything Marketers Need to Know About Pinterest Promoted Pins

Written by , Content Strategist on ExactTarget’s Global Content Marketing & Research team:

This week Pinterest announced the next phase in their business with Promoted Pins. They announced the plans back in September, but this week they announced official partnerships with a small number of brands to test Promoted Pins.

According to Pinterest:

Our first paid test, in the U.S. only, is with a small group of brands from different industries, including:

  • ABC Family
  • Banana Republic
  • Gap
  • General Mills
  • Kraft
  • lululemon athletica
  • Nestle – Purina, Dreyer’s/Edy’s Ice Cream, Nespresso
  • Old Navy
  • Target
  • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
  • Ziploc®

We’re keeping the test small so that we can collect as much feedback as possible, but we’re hoping to open it up to more businesses throughout the year. If you’re interested in learning more about Promoted Pins, sign up for updates and we’ll keep you posted.

Even with its explosive popularity in user numbers, Pinterest has taken its time to adopt ads and “promoted” stories to turn a major profit. Because of this, they are acting very strategically with these promoted pins. They are taking a “consultative approach” and asking for big bucks and high CPMs—the cost per thousand impressions—with these initial partners.

Pinterest is also placing a major focus on the end users with this introduction. They’ve even created a public Google Doc where user can submit feedback on the Promoted Pins they will begin to see.

In the past, Promoted Pins have appeared in search and category pages, but this will be the first time users see ads in their feed.

The Future of Promoted Pins for Brands
According to an AdAge article interviewing Pinterest’s head of partnerships Joanne Bradford, the ads currently are undergoing a manual review, which has limited the quantity of advertisers.

She expressed that their future vision, though, is to launch a self-serve offering for advertisers and marketers of all sizes.

We are quickly coming to a point in time where advertisers and marketers can manage all aspects of their marketing programs from one cohesive, integrated platform, including their digital marketingand advertising. As more an more social media properties announce advertisements and open their APIs, the possibilities for you to reach your customers in new, engaging ways will continue to grow.

The true challenge at that point will be optimizing your data and measurement practices to ensure you are reaching the right audience and building a cohesive journey.

Image Source: Pinterest

5 Ways to Sell SEO to Your CMO

Written by , founder and CEO of BrightEdge:

To increase the chances of winning budget, you need to sell SEO like a CMO. Here’s how to find the data you need to get buy-in from the decision-makers.

If I came to you and asked to borrow $40,000 for a business venture I’m considering, and I said that you needed to trust the idea was going to work based on my knowledge and experience, what would you say? Would you give me the money, no questions asked?

I’m guessing your answer is no. That’s the same answer the CEO is going to give you as the marketing representative in charge of the brand’s SEO – whether you’re in-house or on the agency or consulting side.

As an SEO professional, you need to think of yourself as the chief marketing officer of every project you propose.

In days gone by, it may have been easy to throw some SEO jargon at the decision-makers along with some documentation from Google and other quick SEO wins to get buy-in for budget.

Today’s SEO professional is much more than just a competent optimizer. The SEO of today has a sophisticated skill set and knows how to prove the performance of SEO and communicate its business value, just like a CMO does. Now more than ever, performance tracking is key as SEOs deal with more channels and more data.


So where does that leave the SEO today? What are the factors that make SEO strategies work to keep the investments coming? How do you think like a leading-edge CMO?

How to Prepare for Tough Questions About SEO

When dealing with the decision-makers about your SEO plans, put your CMO “hat” on and be prepared to answer questions like:

  • What potential does the organic search channel really have?
  • How much do I have to invest to see what type of return?
  • How can my business even compete online when the competition is so fierce?
  • What sort of resources are needed to make this project work?

This takes planning and research. You have to be able to benchmark:

  • Where the business is today with little to no investment and where it could be in the future with that same effort.


  • A projection, in dollars, that shows what an investment in each SEO and content marketing initiative could bring to the business’s website in terms of traffic, leads, and lifetime value of a customer.

Let’s say optimizing pages was one of the SEO initiatives you wanted to forecast. You would create a simple projection that shows the traffic coming to the site today, what it could be if the pages and content were optimized, what it could be based on rank of those pages, and factor in estimated conversion rates to get to dollars.

If you can take it a step further by knowing the lifetime value a single customer brings, even better.

I guarantee that if you put this type of thought and effort into your proposal, you’re going to be talking the language of the decision-maker, and your chances of winning budget will massively increase.

The 5-Point Data-Driven Decision Plan

Preparing to answer some of the tough questions means knowing where to look for data. It can’t be ignored that you’ll need research tools. A few years back, a prediction by technology research company Gartner that stated CMOs will spend more on technology by 2017 than chief information officers got people’s attention.

Starting with the data source of your choice, consider the following research avenues:

  1. Understand the available channels online and how they might impact the ROI of SEO, for example, SEO + social, SEO + PPC, SEO + mobile-optimized site. This will help you identify the resources needed (that is, do you need a social media professional to promote your website content? Do you need a team member to spend X amount of hours optimizing pages?).
  2. Benchmark the historical performance and trends for any given channel, or content topic (a.k.a., keyword). Know historically how one channel has impacted another, or which topics on the site tend to drive the most targeted performance. This gives you baselines for your calculations.
  3. Segment pages of the site and groups of pages to correlate with various audiences or business units, as well as those that show the most ROI today. Ensure you measure content performance at page level. Also be sure to identify those pages with the most potential to make an impact (Which page or pages would be taken to the next level very easily?). This helps prioritize your plan.
  4. Know website best practices inside and out that are necessary for a website to even be considered by the search engines or to create a good experience. Explain the ramifications of not having a well-optimized site or a quality content strategy. What does that look like in quantifiable terms? What losses are possible in one year as a result? What about five years?
  5. Find data sources from companies like Pew Research Center, Forrester, eMarketer, comScore, Nielsen, or any other reputable research company to present facts related to the organic search channel and its use. Pepper this into your case for SEO.

Data and the Enterprise SEO Team

Enterprise SEO assumes that there are different roles within a marketing organization – the vice president of marketing interested in revenue from portfolio of sites; director of search looking at rank and conversions from a subset of sites; and SEO managers seeking insight into content, keywords, page, and rank performance.

Ensure that a clear understanding and agreement on your team objectives such as:

  • Who does what – how do search, social, and content teams align?
  • How will you define KPIs for each team member?
  • How are these KPIs related to the overall goals of marketing?
  • Is every team member aware of how their KPI is related to the overall goals?


CMOs care about mapping strategy to business outcomes because that’s how they win and maintain budget for their initiatives. As an SEO in today’s landscape, you are the chief marketing officer of your projects, and you’re usually up against a very discerning crowd when selling concepts related to content and organic search marketing.

Be well prepared with data points and projections that speak to the goals that matter to different decision-makers.

15 Mind-Blowing Stats About Online Shopping

Written by Giselle Abramovich, Senior & Strategic Editor at


Online shopping has become a multibillion-dollar revenue stream–not to mention it has completely turned the path to purchase on its head.

What retailer doesn’t want a piece of that growing pie? This is where multichannel marketing comes into play. Any successful online marketing strategy, however, begins with understanding–and then catering to–consumers’ various shopping patterns and preferences.

To start you on your way, here is a glimpse into the online purchase habits of the modern-day shopper.

1. Online shopping retail sales are predicted to grow steadily to $370 billion in 2017, up from $231 billion in 2012.

2. Consumers ages 25 to 34 lead the way in smartphone usage in-store, comparing prices, reading reviews, buying products, and engaging with brands on social media while in physical stores.

3. Seventy-two percent of Millennials research and shop their options online before going to a store or the mall.

4. Nearly 50 percent of Millennials say they regularly browse for items that they don’t necessarily plan on buying.  Thirty-six percent say they only buy items they deem necessary–for which one-third are willing to pay full price.

5. Online retail revenue saw an 11 percent year-over-year growth rate for the first quarter of 2014, with online orders up 13 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

6. In the first quarter of 2014, retail revenue generated via a mobile device was up 35 percent over last year’s first quarter, with mobile owning 13.7 percent of total e-commerce orders in Q1 2013 compared to 18.5 percent during Q1 2014.

7. Adults 50 years old and above represent the Web’s largest constituency, comprising one-third of the total 195.3 million Internet users in the U.S.

8. Two-thirds of Americans 50-plus buy from e-retailers online.

9. Forrester found that more than three-quarters of 57,499 U.S. online adults surveyed had ordered products or services online. And while Gen Y adults (ages 24 to 32) are the most likely to have done so, Gen Xers (ages 33 to 46) spend the most.

10. With an average $561 in spending, Gen Xers spend about 15 percent more online than Gen Yers ($489), and roughly 25 percent more than the average online adult ($449).

11. Overall, satisfaction with online shopping is high, at 83 percent. However, it drops below 50 percent when shoppers are asked about, specifically, flexibility to choose delivery date; ability to choose a specified time of day for delivery of purchase; flexibility to reroute packages; and a green shipping option.

12. Indeed, today’s online shoppers are looking for a variety of flexible options from retailers; 62 percent also want to buy items online and make returns in-store, and 44 percent want the ability to buy online and pick up their purchases in a store.

13. Online shopping hit $2.29 billion in sales this past Cyber Monday.

14. Digital interactions influence 36 cents of every dollar spent in the retail store, or approximately $1.1 trillion total.

15. Eighty-four percent of store visitors use their mobile devices before or during a shopping trip. Twenty-two percent of consumers spend more as a result of using digital; just over half of these shoppers report spending at least 25 percent more than they had intended. And 75 percent of respondents said product information found on social channels influenced their shopping behavior and enhanced loyalty.

About Giselle Abramovich

Giselle Abramovich is senior & strategic editor at Previously she wrote for outlets including Direct Marketing News, Mobile Marketer, Mobile Commerce Daily, Luxury Daily, and Digiday. Reach her at, or follow her on Twitter@GAbramovich.

How To Market Your Business Through Instagram

By Adrienne Erin, Contributor for


Like many social networks, Instagram, a site exclusively built upon photo sharing, was created to benefit individual users. However, recently brands have begun to see results from setting up company accounts and using them to reach their target markets. Have you given the network a test? If not, now is the time to try. Consider the ideas below for how to use Instagram to benefit your business.

Understand the Network

Like any social network, Instagram requires a  basic knowledge of its functions to see any measurable success. Sign up for a free account under your business’s name, think about your target market and take the time to look around.

One of the best ways to understand how your target market is using Instagram is to follow them. Upon the creation of your new account, Instagram will display a list of your Facebook friends, along with options to follow them. Do this and run a search for specific keywords that are relevant to your business. You’ll quickly learn what seems to get the most attention, and what doesn’t. You’ll also learn more about the interests and usage habits of your target market. Learning the system is essential for success.

Consider Your Goals

What are  your goals for your business’ Instagram account? Do you want to increase website traffic, to interact with potential customers, or share success stories? The primary goal is different for every Instagram user or business. However, like any marketing strategy, understanding what your objective may be is paramount to using the network to its fullest potential.

Start Posting

Instagram is a photo sharing site. Because of this, sharing photos is a necessary technique for creating a branded presence. Think about the photos that your target audience members are likely to respond to and go from there.

Are you a business that thrives on motivating others?  12 Keys Best Rehab, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center is just that, a brand that needs to motivate to see results. Because of this, they created an Instagram presence that is filled with motivational quotes, relaxing scenes and thought provoking statistics.


12 Keys Instagram Photo - Moblized

Do you have a specific, niche market in mind and feel as though that limits your sharing potential? It doesn’t have to.  Audi, a luxury car brand, uses an Instagram account to highlight new models, to create a sense of luxury and indulgence and to put their followers in the driver’s seat.

Audi Instagram Photo - Moblized

The photo posts that you share should be easily relatable and should tie back to your brand in one way or another.

Think Quality, Quality, Quality

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to make a big impact on Instagram. That’s part of the beauty of the network. However, low quality photography never sends a good message and should therefore be avoided at all costs.

Use natural light when taking photos or videos. Use filters to bring attention where you’d like it to go. Become familiar with Instagram’s editing options and use them to create professional-looking posts. With filters, cropping options and even a tool that allows users to shave time off the beginning or end of a video post, the network offers all an aspiring photojournalist or marketer needs to be successful while keeping attention where it should be – on the brand in question.

Keep the Network in Mind on the Go

Instagram is versatile and designed to be used on the go. In fact, the mobile app offers more features and user options than the computer version. This is a rare find, which makes it optimal for mobile marketing.

When out and about, remember that your smartphone can now serve as a traffic-driving mega tool, thanks to Instagram. Snap photos. Take multiple ones to be sure one will work, and record videos that will speak to your target market. Remember, any opportunity can be used to attract brand attention and engagement, especially mobile opportunities.

Build a Following, Organically

What’s the point of putting the time into creating captivating, compelling photography when there’s no audience? There isn’t one. Just like any other social network, building a following on Instagram takes time, but is worth it in the end. Unlike other networks that allow for advertising, Instagram has not opened their  advertising program to the public market yet. This means building a following requires determination and follow-through.

Advertise to your existing email list that you’ve created account and ask them to follow you. Do hashtag searches for keywords that are relevant to your industry. Follow others. Most importantly, interact. Take the time to like photos of the individuals that you follow and to comment. This draws attention and makes a reciprocal follow more likely. Keep at it, each new follow is more attention for your business online.

Don’t Fix It and Forget It

Like any successful targeted online marketing tactic or network, Instagram is not a one-time thing. Setting up an account and abandoning it will not bring results. Neither will “posting and running.”

Finding success on Instagram requires effort. Set aside time each day to devote to growing your presence on Instagram and any other social network on which you wish to actively engage your target audience. Look for new ways to branch out and take the time to interact regularly.
Instagram is an excellent network for businesses to foster a richer, deeper online presence. It’s ease of use and mobile-options make it the perfect go-to for any business looking to get ahead. However, it takes work. If you’re ready to see how Instagram could benefit your brand, set up an account and get started today.

8 Takeaways for Marketers from Facebook’s f8 Developer Conference

Written by , Head of Digital Strategy for ExactTarget Marketing Cloud for EMEA:

Mark Zuckerberg presented at Facebook’s third f8 Developers Conference in San Franciso earlier this week and he highlighted a few interesting trends. The social network is definitely maturing and getting more serious. Listening to him talk made me feel like this event was a major turning point for Facebook.

“My goal for the culture of Facebook is to build a culture of loving the people we serve, that is as strong if not stronger than hacking at Facebook.” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook f8 (April 30, 2014).

You can read our latest post for the specifics of the new features that were announced, but this post is my eight takeaways for digital marketers from what I think was a landmark event for Facebook.

1. Facebook Wants To Be The Bridge Between Mobile Operating Systems
Zuckerberg talked a great deal about how Facebook is helping to reduce silos by augmenting its suite of developer tools. Facebook aims to do this by helping mobile apps run cross-platform (eg. Apple’s iOS, Microsoft’s Windows, and Google’s Android). Facebook is looking to be the glue that helps stick them together.

It means that brand marketers will need to rely on Facebook even more, especially for understandingcustomer journeys and gaining that elusive “single view of a customer.”

2. Zuck’s Law Is Still Going Strong
With resemblance to Moore’s Law, Zuckerberg suggested a few years ago that the rate of social sharing would double every two years. While sharing has slowed down over the last 12 months in Facebook’s major geographies, I think the announcements (like the mobile “Like” button) will reignite that social sharing growth.

3. Privacy Matters
As part of Facebook’s maturity, Facebook is allowing anonymous logins through apps connected to Facebook. This highlights a crucial industry trend, especially considering the success of Whisper and Secret. Allowing anonymous login shows that Facebook is listening to its users more carefully, and respecting their desire to be more in control of the amount of information that they share.

4. A New Attitude Needs a New Motto
Facebook’s famous “move fast and break things” mantra has been officially retired. It was originally inspired by Zuckerberg’s admiration of Bill Gates who once joked:

“‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ doesn’t apply anymore. If it ain’t broke, it’s obsolete.”

As Facebook grows up and tries to keep its stakeholders happy, Mark announced their new internal motto: “Move fast with stable infrastructure.” Granted, it is not as sexy, but it is one of those subtle changes that speaks volumes. Many announcements, like their guarantee of a two-year stability for core APIs, all revolved around stability and infrastructure, showing they are serious about building the confidence of the developer community.

5. Every App Should Have Social Compontents
Research earlier this year showed that 86% of time spent on mobile devices is now in apps and not on browsers. Compare that to the Adevenwho suggested not too long ago that 60% of apps on Apple’s App Store have never been downloaded (450,000 of them).

Zuckerberg claims that the most successful apps (the ones that have been downloaded more than once!), all have strong social components within them; think identity and personalised targeting via the social graph, sharing, push notifications, etc. This acts as a good reminder for any mobile developer that the best apps are powered by communities, not large media budgets.

6. Facebook’s Mission Statement
Mark emphasized Facebook’s mission and reminded everyone at the f8 conference that every business enterprise needs to stand for something larger than itself.

Every company needs to find a purpose. Making millions in profits doesn’t inspire anyone. Improving lives and bringing the internet to the most remote areas of the world does.

7. How Facebook Will Beat Google
Zuckerberg stated that between 5% and 10% of posts on Facebook are people asking questions to their friends that Google could never answer.

These are questions that require a social context you can’t find through a search engine algorithm. This reveals part of Facebook’s strategy to shift away from communication and towards building their “knowledge base.” Facebook also looks to be taking on Google in the ad wars, with its newAudience Network launched at f8.

8. Facebook Wants “Integrated, Not Disruptive” Ads
Zuckerberg used f8 as a platform to help marketers and the developer community understand that if they were respectful of users, they would make more money. Internally Facebook’s mobile focus is based upon a build first, then grow, then monetize mentality. Too many brands, marketers, and developers don’t follow this model or try to rush the process, at the expense of a positive user experience.

At the moment, Facebook’s average revenue per user is $5.85 in the U.S. and $2.44 in Europe. Interestingly, it is only $0.70 in the rest of the world. There is a huge opportunity for Facebook to considerably grow revenue and profits, but the takeaway from f8 is that you build a strong community first, and figure out how to monetize it properly later.

Zuck certainly seems to be doing and saying all the right things in my opinion. It’s a tough balancing act (satisfying employees, fans, brands, and shareholders), but I think Bill Gates put it best: “Mark just wants to make sure that Facebook is the next Facebook.”

For my full opinion on f8 and these 8 takeaways, read the original post on the ExactTarget UK Blog.