Digital Marketing News and Tips

    Top 8 Tips to Consider When Building Landing Pages
    Top 8 Tips to Consider When Building Landing Pages

    Building a campaign from scratch may seem like a daunting task for small businesses, especially if they don’t have adequate internal marketing resources. On the end of the spectrum, bigger companies face the issue of resource allocation when it comes to developing creative assets for new campaigns. Navigating through an endless stream of emails and requests can lead to significant delays in production. In most cases, working with an experienced agency that specializes in conversion optimization can prevent businesses from developing landing pages that will not be ready for future media buying campaigns. However, if that’s not an option and you need to build out landing pages internally, here are the top 8 things to consider when creating a new landing page.

    Whether you decide to outsource the development of landing pages or handle creative design internally, here are eight important tips to consider when building out landing pages.

    #1. Add the right amount of content

    While you should create your landing pages with the purpose of pushing users through the conversion funnel in as few steps as possible, you need to ensure there is enough content on the page to educate users. If Google AdWords is at the center of your media buying strategy, adding relevant ad copy may be essential to increasing your quality score and building up your landing page relevance. If you are pushing traffic from a long-form post on LinkedIn to a particular landing page targeting high-level CEO’s, being thin on content may be more efficient than writing an essay about your services. Fully understand your target audience and the path users are taking to reach your landing page when developing your content strategy.

    #2. Make your landing page mobile responsive (more…)

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    How to Use Yelp for Your Local Marketing Campaigns
    How to Use Yelp for Your Local Marketing Campaigns

    If you’re not ‘Yelping’ yet, it might be time to jump on the bandwagon.

    According to a brand new consumer survey prepared by Nielsen, it seems like Yelp is quickly becoming a powerful vehicle for local marketing campaigns. In case you have no idea what we’re talking about, Yelp is a popular website that features user reviews for local businesses and restaurants. Of the 2,000 U.S. adults surveyed, 92% indicated that they made a purchase after visiting the site.

    Powerful Yelp Statistics
    Those are some impressive statistics….

    Other compelling statistics extracted from the report include:

    • 74% of consumers actively seeking information about a local business will peruse online review websites on a monthly basis.
    • Yelp was the consensus favourite among survey respondents when it comes to local review websites.
    • 79% of Yelp users are actively looking for local establishments that they can visit more than once.
    • 55% of users will order food for pickup or delivery from local restaurants on Yelp after using the platform to find recommendations.

    While these statistics are rather glowing in Yelp’s favour, one must exercise caution and take this report with a grain of salt, because the study was commissioned by Yelp. However, there’s no denying these review-type websites are essential ingredients in any digital marketing initiative for local businesses. Marketing professionals are quick to exhaust advertising budgets on Google AdWords and Facebook Ads, but when it comes to identifying niche platforms that can yield optimal results, Yelp is often ignored or severely underutilized.

    How Can You Use Yelp for Local Marketing?

    If you’re a business owner and haven’t started using Yelp yet, here are some handy tips on how to effectively utilize the website to achieve your marketing objectives.

    1. Claim Your Listing

    As with any local marketing initiative, you must be proactive and claim your business listing or create a new profile from scratch. If you do not maintain control over your listing, issues can arise in the long-run, especially if inaccurate information is displayed on the public profile. Make an effort to clean up your business’ information on Yelp and optimize it for your niche audience. If you’re in the restaurant industry, chances are you’re heavily dependent upon public reviews and how your company is represented on this specific platform.

    2. Optimize Your Business Information

    This may seem pretty obvious, but companies tend to make the simple mistake of inputting inconsistent information on local listings around the web. When it comes to local SEO, search engines are actively scanning your profiles to ensure the name, address, and phone number are consistent across all platforms. Also, make sure to update your listing whenever updates arise. For example, if you alter your hours of operation, be sure to reflect that on your Yelp listing. Otherwise, you may receive harsh criticisms and acerbic feedback from dissatisfied users, making your business look bad in the public eye.

    3. Engage with Users and Reply to Customer Reviews

    As with all other platforms in the digital marketing environment, popularity plays a significant role with regards to how search results are determined. Listings that garner the most positive feedback and reviews will tend to rank well for relevant searches. However, businesses that have earned a negative reputation are likely to be buried within search results, resulting in little-to-no visibility for pertinent searches. Managing reviews on Yelp can be a burdensome activity on its own, and if you’re new to the platform, it may be difficult to determine where you need to begin. Listing managers have the ability to respond to a review either publicly or privately, which must be determined on a review-by-review basis. Adding a public comment to positive reviews indicates that your business values user feedback. Negative reviews, on the other hand, require far more delicate treatment and can snowball into a disaster if not attended to properly. If users are caustic and flagrantly bash your business, use the private messaging feature to deal with individual complaints. However, if misleading or inaccurate comments are posted, feel free to respond publicly to clear up any misunderstandings.

    4. Upload Photos to Your Profile

    If an image can say 1,000 words, then 20 photos must represent 20,000 words about your business. There’s no better storytelling than that, right?

    When users are seeking out information on Yelp, they want to get an idea of what to expect should they visit your businesses. In the restaurant industry, photos and videos can help convert users because you are giving them a visual representation of appetizing meals. Visual assets can also assist businesses in the hospitality industry to paint an image of the idyllic vacation for intrigued users. Regardless of your target audience, take advantage of the photo upload feature for businesses to establish legitimacy with users and earn their trust. While past studies revealed that users will spend more time on average browsing listings containing photos, conventional wisdom should indicate that more multimedia assets available within your listing equals more opportunities to keep users engaged.

    5. Promote Special Offers & Deals

    How does Yelp monetize its platform? This is one of two methods in which the local marketing platform makes money. The Deals and Gift Certificates program allows businesses to promote special offers to users on Yelp. For a local restaurant, this could be a special voucher for a meal or a gift certificate to be used at a later date. While there are no upfront costs, Yelp will collect 30% of money spent on deals and 10% on gift certificates, making it an expensive, but potentially worthwhile, marketing endeavor.

    6. Advertise on Yelp

    Last but not least, Yelp’s advertising platform is the second way the business monetizes its traffic. The targeted local advertising solutions available within the platform can help propel your listing to the top of search results and ensure your brand name is shown on top competitor listings, giving you an opportunity to divert traffic away from other businesses. While feedback is certainly mixed with regards to the effectiveness of Yelp advertising, it can prove to be a worthwhile investment if you’re already generating excellent results organically. Rather than diving head first and allocating thousands of dollars into Yelp advertising, test the waters by spending a couple of hundred dollars to see if you can gain traction with this type of media buying campaign. If the results prove to be unsuccessful, focus your efforts on building your profile organically and cultivating reviews.

    Now that you have a better understanding of the effectiveness of Yelp marketing, it’s time to put the pedal to the metal and optimize your presence on this local marketing platform.

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    Google Pauses TrueView Discovery Ads to Implement Better Brand Protection Measures
    Google Pauses TrueView Discovery Ads to Implement Better Brand Protection Measures

    Google has clandestinely stopped serving its TrueView discover ads within mobile search results or “related video” results on video watch pages within the YouTube network temporarily. Unfortunately for Google, these ads have been paused until better measures are implemented to prevent videos from being shown next to offensive and extremist content, which is an issue that has been plaguing its video advertising platform for months. As discussed in a previous blog post, the search engine giant is investing time and resources into deploying filters and feedback tools to identify objectionable content within organic search results, which is also known as Project Owl. However, the issue has become quite troublesome within the advertising spectrum, as major brands have scaled back spend, and in some cases, halted campaigns indefinitely with Google until the aforementioned issues are resolved and safeguards are implement to ensure brand protection. (more…)

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    Snapchat Launches New Self-Serve Ad Manager
    Snapchat Launches New Self-Serve Ad Manager

    Self-serve advertising tools are coming to Snapchat. Hallelujah!

    When Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., filed its initial public offering earlier this year, it was expected that the company would begin adding more business features to its Snapchat platform to entice small and medium sized businesses into spending money with the growing social media platform. Until now, companies that wanted to promote their products and services on Snapchat had to be willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Snapchat’s premium ad products or purchase media through one of their preferred advertising partners, causing angst among those of us that wanted to test campaigns on small budgets before ramping up digital spend. However, in a recent announcement, it appears that Snapchat will finally give us media buying wizards our wish by releasing a whole set of fancy new tools geared at onboarding more businesses into the advertising platform….and in the end, making more money to appease Snap Inc. investors.


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    Google Rolling out Similar Audiences for AdWords Search & Shopping Campaigns
    Google Rolling out Similar Audiences for AdWords Search & Shopping Campaigns

    Always looking to give advertisers extra capabilities to spend more money, Google has announced the rollout of similar audiences for search and shopping advertising campaigns. While the similar audiences feature has already been available within display campaigns for a while, Google has finally extended the targeting option to search and shopping campaigns, allowing advertisers flexible targeting options. Of course, targeting users based on keyword searches seems pretty direct, but it’s pretty difficult to weed out users that may not fit your ideal target audience. For example, one user searching for “buy health insurance” may be looking to signup for a plan on the spot, whereas another user searching for “buy health insurance” may be looking to get more information. With the ability to strengthen targeting capabilities by seeking out users similar to those who have previously converted via your website, search advertising campaigns will become far more effective. 

    Similar audiences for search advertising will allow businesses to create highly efficient audiences, as based on users who have previously visited their websites. RLSA, also known as remarketing lists for search advertising, gives you the flexibility to implement bid adjustment and/or solely target past site visitors. Unfortunately, it does have certain limitations if you don’t generate a lot of traffic and/or want to broaden your audience without spending too much on unqualified impressions. Similar audiences for search advertising adds another layer to your targeting, creating an ideal pool of potential leads and prospects to which you can market your products & services. Google did tease the feature in May of last year, but the company never divulged details as to when it would be rolled out for the masses and enabled within AdWords accounts. (more…)

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    Google's Project Owl
    Google’s Project Owl: An Initiative Against Fake News

    From presidential candidates to the everyday Joe, it seems like the usage of “fake news” as a phrase has risen exponentially over the past year. Quick to dismiss disparaging reports, politicians from both major US political parties have been quick to levy attacks against others by using the “fake news” label to discredit the reputation of their opponents. However, while the usage of the term “fake news” only skyrocketed after Donal Trump assumed office (as exhibited below), social media platforms and search engines have been infected (for lack of a better term) with misleading content for years now, with agenda-driven websites pumping out content to mislead followers.

    Fake News Search Trends
    Note the correlation between the increase in the usage of “fake news” and the number of times Donald Trump has called news organizations “fake news” on Twitter.

    While it may be difficult to corroborate the authenticity of content published within social media circles and indexed on search engines, tech giants are doing their best to minimize the potential outbreak of misleading or offensive content. Enter Google.

    Google’s Project Owl


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    LinkedIn Introduces Lead Gen Forms A New Ad Format to Collect Leads
    LinkedIn Introduces Lead Gen Forms: A New Ad Format to Collect Leads

    Capturing form submissions can be quite a hassle for any type of business within the digital environment. Every time a step is added to the conversion funnel, there’s an inherent risk in having a number of users drop out and abandoning the entire process. Conversion rates are likely to suffer even more on mobile devices, especially if your website is not up to snuff or you require users to fill out more than a couple of fields. Luckily, it seems like the people behind major media buying platforms are quickly becoming cognizant of this issues and providing businesses with solutions to combat potential issues. Following in Facebook’s footsteps, LinkedIn has launched Lead Gen Forms, which will help advertisers collect user information directly within site via Sponsored Content campaigns.


    LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
    Capturing leads on LinkedIn is easy peasy.


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    Facebook’s New Ad Format: Collections

    Online sellers rejoice! Facebook is releasing a new ad format and reporting metric to help track sales. Collection is a new, more engaging ad format which allows advertisers to display videos, product image and Canvas-style elements.

    “Collection is, at its core, a new ad experience that we’ve built specifically for news feed, to drive product discovery and sales through an engaging format in a fast-loading shopping experience,”
    – Maz Sharafi, Facebook’s director of product marketing


    As you can see, Collections will showcase videos or photos as well as related products. Advertisers can choose which related products to display, or let Facebook decide based on performance and popularity, as well as based on which products would appeal more to the user viewing the ad.
    Once a user clicks on the ad, they will be led to a catalogue where they can view more products. Since these product catalogues are hosted on Facebook, they will have quick load times, just like Facebook’s Instant Articles. Once a user clicks on a product they like, they will then be redirected to the advertiser’s website or mobile app to complete the purchase.

    With the release of the new ad format, Facebook is also reevaluating their reporting for immersive types of ads. They will be introducing the metric of Outbound Clicks, set to measure the number of clicks from product catalogue to website or mobile app.

    Will you be testing out this new ad format?

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    Breaking down the New Google Adwords Update for Exact Match Targeting
    Breaking down the New Google AdWords Update for Exact Match Targeting

    There has been no shortage of updates when it comes to the Google AdWords platform recently. Over the past year, the following has been updated within the Google AdWords platform:

    • Regular text ads have gone the way of the Dodo bird, being replaced with Expanded Text Ads, which contain two headlines and one lengthy description.
    • Price extensions were rolled out, giving media buyers an opportunity to beef up ad copy with an additional ad extension.
    • Device-level bidding received an overhaul, giving advertisers more control and flexibility with regards to targeting by device category.
    • Responsive ads were brought to the display network, allowing advertisers to have their ad formatted for any type of website within Google’s network.
    • Account-level call extensions were launched, making it easier for AdWords managers to enable call extensions on a broader level.

    For the most part, these updates were welcomed by those of us within the Google Adwords community. In fact, some of these updates were also adopted within the Bing Ads platform (how can you not love expanded test ads?). However, Google’s recent announcement, in which search the engine giant stated that they were changing the way exact match targeting triggers ads, has received a bit of a mixed reaction. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering it relinquishes some control over how ads associated to exact match keywords are triggered. At the moment, exact match targeting isn’t really exact match anyways, as close variants (plurals, typos, abbreviations, and adverbs) are already included within the match type targeting. Now, it seems like the goal posts are being widened even further, with Google broadening exact match targeting to include addition, rewording, and reordering of text.


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    Google's Share of the Search Advertising Market Increased in 2016
    Google’s Share of the Search Advertising Market Increased in 2016

    When it comes to search engine advertising, there is no doubt that Google AdWords remains the preferred choice among media buyers and small businesses alike. The wide reach available within the Google environment provides a rich amount of targeting for any type of business. A recent report by eMarketer corroborates the notion of Google AdWords being popular among media buyers, as the search engine giant generated $24.60 billion in revenue from search advertising in 2016, dominating the United States market.

    $24.60 billion.


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