Digital Marketing News and Tips

    How to Hire a Marketing Agency
    How to Hire a Marketing Agency

    In today’s fast-paced business world, building your brand is a priority if you want to differentiate yourself from the competition. Your products and services may be innovative, but if people don’t know about it, your opportunities for growth are limited. If you’re having difficulty developing a strategic advertising rollout, there’s where an experienced marketing agency becomes a necessity. If you’re looking to spread the word about your product and master the all-important digital landscape, finding the right agency is among the most important decisions you can make. Before you start looking, here are a few tips that should help you find an agency that’s just the right fit.

    Identify your needs

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    What is a Good Click-Through Rate (CTR) for Google AdWords
    What is a Good Click-Through Rate for Google AdWords?

    It’s not a stretch to say that Google has revolutionized online advertising and pay-per-click advertising through their AdWords platform. In 2016, AdWords was responsible for a significant portion of Google’s $89.5 billion revenue. By providing a multitude of advertising options, the service allows businesses to target web users that would most likely be interested in their product, and advertisers pay when the ad is clicked on. Whether it’s product-driving advertising through Shopping campaigns, image-based advertising through Google’s Display Network, or the traditional search ads, Google has developed the Swiss Army knife of media buying platforms. Of course, if you’re new to the advertising realm, you may have some questions regarding the efficacy of your marketing efforts and whether or not your Google AdWords campaigns are truly optimized.

    How Effective is my Ad?

    Like any other advertising tool, your campaign needs to be targeted to a specific audience and efficient to be successful. One way to ensure that your Google AdWords campaign is up to snuff is by monitoring click-through rates (CTR), which measures the number of times your ad is clicked versus the amount of time it’s served. You can measure the CTR of your campaigns on the whole, or dig deep into the data to measure the CTR by ad or keyword to evaluate which campaign components are not yielding the best results.

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    The Rise of Voice Search and Answer Engine Optimization
    The Rise of Voice Search and Answer Engine Optimization

    Fifty years ago, the idea of talking to a technological device seemed futuristic. Star Trek portrayed characters talking using something called a communicator, which served as a precursor to the current devices that occupy the 21st-century market. Nowadays, the practice of seeking out answers by communicating with a mobile phone, or even a home assistant such as Alexa, Siri, Cortana, or Google is widely accepted and common.

    What has ignited the rise of voice search? The advancement of technology over the past 15 years is just remarkable. Back in the day, brick phones and subsequently flip phones were rather commonplace, lacking the technology that current mobile devices contain today.

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    How to Market Your Business on Social Media
    How to Market Your Business on Social Media

    Facebook live streams. Reddit AMAs. Instagram Stories. Tweetstorms.  Teenagers devouring Tide Pods to satisfy their hunger.

    The evolution of the social media environment has evolved quite a bit over the past couple of years. Before memes and Donald Trump dominated news feeds, social media marketing consisted of posting text updates to Facebook and Twitter without any real advertising strategy. Life was a lot simpler back then (and some will argue far duller)– if you created intriguing content, it had the opportunity to go viral and propel your brand to new heights.

    Old Facebook Layout
    Facebook looked pretty ghetto way back when.

    Years later, the entire structure of the social media landscape has changed. Not only are there new platforms for savvy online marketing professionals to utilize to reach new audiences, but all of the essential social media players have developed sophisticated advertising capabilities that allow you to target niche audiences. Unfortunately, despite all of the tools widely available to all types of businesses, marketing on social media platforms isn’t an easy endeavor if you lack the business experience. Sure, publishing a meme making fun of the New Orleans Saints losing in spectacular fashion is easy, but how does posting on Facebook translate into sales? And does Twittering lead to generating leads for businesses?

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    Five Important SEO Trends to Look Out for in 2018
    Five Important SEO Trends to Look Out for in 2018

    As we close the curtain on 2017, we can look forward to the following SEO trends becoming more popular in 2018.

    #1 Voice Search

    Let’s commence with the most obvious trend that will dominate 2018: voice search. An estimated 55% of teenagers and 40% of adults are using voice search on a daily basis and usage will only continue increasing as digital assistants become more sophisticated. The simplicity of voice search gives users the ability to find content and receive answers to questions without having to unlock their phones. Not only is voice search much easier than typing out queries, but the error rate continues to diminish as usage increases.

    Voice Search
    I wish I had this much fun talking to Siri. I guess I’m not as entertaining as this Shutterstock model.

    What does this mean for search strategists? I bet you’re saying “Isn’t voice search the same as seeking out information by typing it out?” I hate to burst your bubble, but voice search isn’t the same as manually typing out text. Users don’t use voice search the same way they use text search. Regular searching habits, especially from mobile devices, often require cat-like agility, which means truncating phrases to the bare minimum. For example, if you’re interested in finding out what the weather is in Montreal, you might write out “weather Montreal” to save time. However, with voice search, the average user will use a conversational tone and likely ask a digital assistant “What is the weather like in Montreal today?” Semantic search is now more important than ever with the evolution of voice search, which means you need to continue to work on implementing highly informative and keyword-rich content that search engines can process easily. (more…)

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    Facebook to Tweak Its Algorithm to Punish Slow Loading Websites
    Facebook to Tweak Its Algorithm to Punish Slow Loading Websites

    The rise of mobile marketing in recent years has led to major platforms implementing new algorithm updates to favour mobile-friendly content ahead of web pages that are not optimized for smartphone device. While it’s well known that Google has taken strong measures to implement ranking adjustments for mobile-friendly web pages, another major platform has jumped on the train: Facebook.

    In a recent blog post announcement, the leader of the social media marketing environment has stated that its algorithm will begin to penalize links to slow-loading web pages. Facebook will analyze the loading time of a web page from its mobile application and utilize those specific site speed scores to adjust the rankings of web pages within people’s news feeds. Although Facebook states that this will not affect most brands publishing content on Facebook, a small number of advertisers are likely to feel the impact of this new update. The incentive to promote quick-loading content does not come as a surprise, as Facebook’s ultimate goal is to increase the user experience within its platform, hence the list of enhancements made to its algorithm in recent years to penalize spammy content, “fake news”, and deceptive redirect links. However, there is an ulterior motive at play here from Facebook: increasing the adoption rate of Instant Articles, which is similar to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project, otherwise known as AMP.

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    18 Effective Ways to Market Your Business Online
    18 Effective Ways to Market Your Business Online

    Navigating the digital environment can be an arduous task for small businesses, especially for companies that have been reliant on traditional marketing tactics. While business classes teach us that there are five main promotional activities in the communications mix – advertising, direct response marketing, sales promotions, personal selling, and public relations – online marketing has quickly evolved into a digital promotional mix on its own.

    While traditional marketing practices have certain nuances and skill requirements, online marketing has become a massive endeavor for businesses, where an increasing amount of skill sets are needed to manage campaigns on a large scale successfully. Technical and coding prowess, creative design, astute analytics skills, and copywriting are only a few of the main factors to be considered when deploying promotional activities on the internet. The evolution of social media platforms, periodic algorithm adjustments from search engines, and conception of online advertising exchanges have given digital marketers an arsenal unlike anything that has been seen before in advertising.

    However, despite all of the tools readily available at everyone’s disposal, many businesses have been slow in adopting digital marketing practices to capture traffic online. Contrary to popular belief, just creating a website will not lead to hundreds of users hitting your site every day. Whether it’s through social media marketing, search engine optimization, or media buying, you need to develop trust with users and search engines alike to even get the tiniest slice of traffic available on the web.

    Before venturing into digital marketing, there are some things a small business must consider before launching any campaigns, which may include:

    • What is my budget for online marketing? –> Depending on how much you’re willing to invest into digital marketing, the outcomes can either be substantial or minuscule. While we don’t want to hang onto the old saying “to make money, you have to spend money,” you will need to invest a good amount of resources, labor or otherwise, into propelling your brand into the spotlight.
    • What are my objectives? –> While establishing your goals may seem elementary, this is where a lot of small businesses make mistakes with digital marketing. Although fancy metrics such as likes, shares, and views illustrate one’s popularity, they do not always translate into leads and sales.
    • Who is my niche audience? –> Better understanding who you want to reach with online marketing will make it easier to develop a strategic plan of action. Media buying platforms, in particular, offer a wide array of targeting options that can help you pinpoint the people most likely to become a customer.
    • What is my competitive advantage? –> Once again, this may seem like a fundamental element in the planning process, but it can be quite easy to forget if you’re building a new business from scratch. It’s important to define the reason why people should consider your company over a myriad of competitors, especially if what you’re selling isn’t revolutionary or truly distinct from others. Make light of the benefits you provide over competitors and highlight it within your marketing initiatives.

    Now that we’ve gone through the preamble, it’s important to know the different tactics and channels that can be employed to promote your brand in a positive light and capture relevant traffic. Here is a list of all the ways you can market your business online: (more…)

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    An Overview of Snapchat's New Ad Manager
    An Overview of Snapchat’s New Ad Manager

    The moment social media marketing professionals have been waiting for is finally here (well, those of us that utilize Snapchat for reasons other than posting selfies). Advertising is now available to all businesses on Snapchat.

    The new ad manager will present small-to-medium sized companies the opportunity to manage their campaigns without the need of having to through a sales representative or third-party company. Additionally, this gives all types of businesses the chance to test campaigns on smaller budgets rather than investing hundreds of thousands of dollars into brand awareness campaigns that may or may not generate a good return on investment. For those of you venturing through the advertising buying process on Snapchat for the first time, here is what you can expect with regards to the ad formats available.

    Sponsored Lenses

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    Google to Start Rolling out Mobile-First Index Next Year
    Google to Start Rolling out Mobile-First Index Next Year

    After months of speculation, it looks like the mobile-first index will finally be rolled out sometime over the course of the next year. According to John Mueller in a recent Google hangout, it seems like Google will start rolling out the mobile-first index to websites that have already prepped for the update.

    While the official date of the rollout is still shrouded in mystery, Mueller stated that webmasters would not be notified of when the update happens. From a tracking perspective, this will make it rather difficult for webmasters and digital marketing analysts alike to pinpoint a specific date as to when the change occurred.

    However, the ambiguity will be useful in keeping webmasters on their toes to make sure that they are putting all efforts into optimizing their websites for mobile devices. However, this presents an advantage for sites that are already optimized for mobile devices, as they will be given priority to realize the benefits of a mobile-first index ahead of websites that are not up to code.

    What are the advantages of a mobile-first index?

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    How Instagram Is Beating Snapchat at Its Own Game
    How Instagram Is Beating Snapchat at Its Own Game

    When Instagram Stories launched last year, news sites lamented the fact that it was derivative of Snapchat’s Stories feature and brought nothing new to the table. However, in only nine short months, it seems like Instagram’s feature has caught lightning with users, surpassing Snapchat when it comes to daily active users. With 200 million active daily users compared to 160 million daily active users for Snapchat, it seems like Instagram’s clone has been a resounding success. While this is certainly not the death knell for Snapchat, it is quite disconcerting that Instagram’s blatantly copied feature is becoming far more popular and widely used than the original. Here are some reasons that may have contributed to Snapchat’s fall from grace in recent month.

    1. It’s difficult to find users on Snapchat

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