Google Speed Update – What It Means & The PPC Impact

Google is all about the need, the need for speed.

tom cruise maverick GIF by Top 100 Movie Quotes of All Time

Specifically, your site speed with the latest Google Indexing update launched on July 9th. Called the “Speed Update”, Google has introduced site speed as a ranking factor for mobile web pages on the SERP. Gasp

Really, I don’t expect this to come as a big surprise to too many of you PPCitizens, as Google already ranks site speed on desktop. Plus, study after study has come out proving that site speed is super important to the average user. Especially on mobile where 53% of visitors leave a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

The PPC Impact

From what we are reporting thus far on our PPCHero and Hanapin websites, our organic rankings have not taken a hit, but then we have a pretty optimized mobile site (#humblebrag). For those of you who are working with slower mobile sites, you might report an uptick in mobile traffic to your paid search results as your organic listings take a hit and users go through an ad instead. I would keep an eye in Analytics on your mobile traffic to see if you have taken a hit from the new rankings.

If you are seeing a dip in mobile traffic, or even if you aren’t, we recommend optimizing your site for mobile as best as possible. Google has a couple of tools available to evaluate a page’s performance. Lighthouse is a Chrome DevTools resource that audits web page quality by looking at performance and accessibility and PageSpeed Insights reports on how well a page performs on Chrome and recommends performance optimizations.

If updating your mobile site is not currently in the cards, a strong desktop site and search campaign are still crucial. You want your customers to have a solid user experience so they can become a lead or make a purchase. Depending on how slow your mobile site is, it might make sense to bid down on mobile in your search campaigns until improvements can be made to not pay for clicks and have them abandon before the site loads.


The site speed update is important, as it shows Google is continuing to focus on website performance. Overall, though, the impact on your PPC campaigns should be minimal. If you have an extremely slow site, it would be smart to lower mobile bid adjustments until improvements can be made. Otherwise, keep an eye on traffic and watch for a dip in mobile over the coming month.

Has the update had an impact on your site? Let me know on Twitter!



Who’s in Your Sphere of Influence and Why Does it Matter?

The fearless marketer is one that:

  1. Has a revenue attribution mindset
  2. Has a digital sales motion skillset
  3. Has a sales and marketing aligned toolkit

He has extended his hands to partner with sales leaders as a driving force for modern, digital selling. This marketer will Create, Organize, Distribute, and Evaluate Engagement (C.O.D.E.) alongside their sales team. Every asset and campaign is designed with increasing sales quota attainment, per sales professional, in mind. But how can the fearless marketer ensure that their sales team is set up for success?

In this blog, I’ll personally help you understand how the fearless marketer can help set her team up for success. 

Current Challenge

The challenge that sales and marketing have when they begin developing account target lists (by geography, vertical, or strategic accounts) is that someone always does a quick Google search: “What are the largest ABC companies in XYZ industry.” This is called “wallet-share” account selection. While acquiring the biggest, baddest companies in any vertical is important, you aren’t the only company trying to sell to them—by a long shot.

Who Influences Your Customer?

The “sphere of influence” flips this model on its head. To utilize your sphere of influence is to leverage your EXISTING customers as a centerpiece and reverse-engineer the companies and contacts that are within one degree of “social proximity” from your customers. Think about it… sell into accounts where we have the greatest advocates.

Marketing works with sales to war-room a list of new target accounts that have a higher probability/convertibility. Marketing then develops storyboards for these accounts, specifically telling stories about your customer success. You’re telling these stories ONLY to those people that have the highest propensity to understand/care about those stories.

One example of this is job changes from existing customers to new logos. Tools like LinkedIn allow you to map and create a trigger-alert anytime a champion, influencer, or decision-maker leaves your existing customer to join a logo you don’t already have. Your sales team can then engage the advocate at the new logo with well-timed (just as they start their new role), and well positions insights (a reminder of the successes their previous employer had with your solutions).

Why This Works

Here’s one example for you: I met Jill Rowley, Chief Growth Officer at Marketo, through Bob Perkins, CEO of AA-ISP when we were both asked to speak at the AA-ISP Social Selling Summit in 2013. What I didn’t know yet is that Jill had been tasked with training 23k sales professionals on the Why, What, and How-to-Do Social Selling. At the time, she knew very little about sales training. Through this, Jill and I became in each other’s sphere of influence. She was vital to bringing in my company, Sales for Life, to train her team on social selling. Now, five years later, Jill’s hiring Sales for Life again to train the global sales organization on digital selling. Building that relationship was empowering for both of us.

Taking it a Step Further

Once you’ve utilized the sphere of influence model, it’s time to further engage your potential customers. As your sales team is ready to engage accounts, marketing can help the sales team organize a library of rich insights to leverage. These insights are meant to really push a buyer to think differently and question the status quo. The modern, digital seller will reach far beyond just slinging a blog article over to a customer. The modern, digital seller will humanize and synthesize the insights with video. This will really engage the customer and highlight the authenticity of the seller.

The return on video is immense. With my company, we see 10x to 30x read-to-response rates. And, customers all over the world are increasing their opportunity creation percentage because their marketing and sales team are aligning to deliver insights that truly help the buyer. This marketing and sales partnership is the way to fully utilize your sphere of influence. Think of the example I cited with Jill and how now, even five years later, our spheres still intersect to create opportunities.

Have you utilized your sphere of influence to create sales opportunities before? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.

The post Who’s in Your Sphere of Influence and Why Does it Matter? appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


Brand Archetypes: The Science Of Strategic Brand Personality

You may have heard of brand archetypes before, but have you ever really stopped to consider how they apply to your brand? Or how they might influence your positioning strategy and communication? From my research on the topic, I get a sense that archetypes are still widely undiscovered and those who have briefly encountered the subject are somewhat dismissive of them as a strategic tool.

Primarily, I feel, this is because of a lack of understanding of their application. When used correctly, however, brand archetypes have the power to place your brand front and center, not just in your customer’s mind, but in their hearts.

The Secret of the Most Loved Brands

We all have an emotional connection with at least one brand. Think of the brands you love. If you’re not a brand fanatic (like many Apple users), then ask yourself a question: What one brand do I use, where the alternative just won’t cut it?

If you think about it, I’m confident there’s at least one. Maybe it’s your iPhone, your Converse trainers, or your Diesel Jeans, or something that’s even more specific to who you are.

Whatever the brand, your connection with it goes beyond simply features and benefits. Your favorite brand has created an emotional bond with you, through strategic positioning and communication.

Why We “Love” Our Favorite Brands

Whether you go so far as to say that you “love” your favorite brands or not, you do feel a connection with them that is “human” and is based on “feelings.” But how can we feel human connections for inanimate objects or corporations that manufacture those objects?

The answer lies in how they make us feel. The most beloved brands are the ones that understand their audience better than others. They tailor their communication (through personality) to evoke the exact desire within them, which their brand satisfies.

The Key Is in The Heart, Not the Mind

We all think that we’re logical people and that our buying decisions are calculated, that we consider all the options on the table and make an informed decision.

The reality, however, is that 95% of our purchasing decisions are made in our subconscious, according to Gerald Zaltman, Harvard Business School professor.

He goes on to say that even those who report that they actively compare competing brands, never actually consider the alternative. In other words, our decisions have been made long before the point of purchase.

Desire Gave Birth to the Archetype

We all have basic human desires (beyond the obvious ones). We don’t learn to want certain things, it’s instinctive. Because we as individuals are all different, we all have different levels of desire for different needs. Psychologist (and once a good friend of Sigmund Freud) Carl Jung, who coined the term “archetypes” said we all have a “collective unconscious” that channel experiences and emotions resulting in typical patterns of behavior.

In other words, there are specific personalities that we instinctively understand, that evoke specific desires within us.

Whether you have a desire for power, freedom, intimacy, safety, or understanding, a particular collection of behaviors (or a certain personality) will evoke those desires within you, more than others. There are 12 distinct personalities (12 Jungian archetypes), which evoke 12 core human desires. These that act as the primary colors for all personalities and desires and can be used to make strategic emotional connections.

Loved Brands Are Tangible

Brands with no emotional connections with their audience are traded like commodities and as such, are immediately replaced when better or novelty options become available. Brands that make emotional connections foster brand loyalty as well as the holy grail of branding, brand advocacy.

Making these connections is not just a case of plucking a handful of traits you believe your audience admires. To make a real connection, your brand needs to become human. A brand that knows who it is, what it stands for, voices opinions, promotes beliefs, champions a cause or brings a certain life to the party is a brand with personality.

These are the brands that make connections, so their audience “feels something” for them. They are alive, they inspire us, they guide us, we trust them and, in some cases, we love them.

How Can I Use This in My Brand Strategy?

Using brand archetypes is not an afterthought in the strategic branding process. It should be a core part of your brand and positioning strategy.

As such, you need to start with your audience, though this is where a lot of confusion lies. It’s not simply about asking which archetype your audience is, like a multiple-choice question.

When you know your audience intimately, their aspirations, fears, desires, and expectations, you can begin to shine some light on the personality (or archetype) that will best appeal to them. Your industry and competitors will also have an influence on your position and how you want to differentiate in your space.

Once you have a clear picture of your competitive landscape, you will have insight into the position you want to take, the emotion and desire you want to evoke, and which fully formed archetypal personality will help bring your brand to life.

Have you used brand archetypes in your strategy? Tell me about your best practices in the comments.

The post Brand Archetypes: The Science Of Strategic Brand Personality appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


Dynamic Search Ads for Advanced Users

In a previous article Dynamic Search Ads for Beginners, Shannon discussed different reasons you might want to use Dynamic search ads (DSA) and how to set them up in your account. In this post, I am going to discuss some advanced ways to use Dynamic Search Ads in your account.

Why Use Dynamic Search Ads (DSA)

As previously mentioned, DSA are great for catching additional keywords you may not have thought of targeting. They are also great for websites that have too many products to build out individual campaigns or adgroup to target all possibly variations. Another reason might be if you are unsure if you are reaching all the searches available or your products or services. Additionally, you might want to focus on top selling products or products with the greatest ROI.

DSA Targeting Options

Google recommends setting up DSA adgroups by category. These categories were automatically built based on the content of your website. However, there are times when this option does not provide enough granularity to target or exclude the right products. These preset categories are what Google has decided are recommended for your website. In most cases, this option may work best for your account.

However, one of my clients has less than twenty products, and all of these products were bucketed into the same category. This particular group was contributing to orders and revenue, but I had no way to optimize in a granular way to improve performance. In this case, it would be worth testing out targeting by specific webpages.

Targeting by Specific Webpages

If the category is not available, another way to create specific targets is to target by specific webpages. Lets say your website sells shoes and you want to target all products relating to sandals in the same group. If all your URLs for sandals contain /sandals/ in the URL, you could target every page that includes “sandals”.

Additionally, you could create specific rules to target these by groups or individually. You can also customize this to target URLs that contain “sandals” and also contain a particular brand in the page content. This type of targeting can help you isolate particular products and bid differently based on performance.

Targeting by a Custom Feed

You can also create a custom page feed data template with all the URLs you would like to target and organize them by labels. This will allow you to create Adgroups that target specific URLs by labels. For example, you could organize this page feed by rating, category, top sellers, locations, or even product URLs you would like to exclude.

For example, in the client I mentioned above that had all their products bucketed under the same category. This custom feed allowed me to create a custom URL list based on their top products and then organize my adgroups by labels. I could have also created these groups one-by-one using the target specific URLs option. Using the custom page feed is just another way to organize your lists.

Uploading a Custom Feed

Once you have created this custom list, you will upload it under Tools > Setup > Business Data > and upload as a page feed.

Connecting a Custom Feed

Next, you will need to go into the campaign settings and under Dynamic Search Ads, you will want to select Use URLs from my page feed only or Use URLs from both Google’s index of my website, and connect the custom page feed you uploaded. Also, it can take a few days for Google to crawl the page feed and for the ads to begin serving.

Organizing by Custom Labels

By using a page feed, you can see how quickly you could organize all your products by type or brand and create custom adgroups for each group you wanted to target. So, you could organize your shoes by product type, brand, price range, or top sellers. For example, you could organize them by gender and create labels for “womens sandals” and “mens sandals”. This would allow you to bid differently based on performance.

It is a good idea to make sure your labels are clearly defined so you can easily apply them to products in the future. So, if you added an entire new line of sandals, you could easily apply the correct label so those products could begin serving in the Adgroup you created for that particular label.

Excluding by Labels

In fact, you could create a custom label for any products you would want to exclude. Lets say you do want to target any of your hardware or accessories because the ROAS is too low. You could create a label for all these URLs and quickly exclude them all from your targeted list.

Optimizing your DSA

Although you are running a campaign that doesn’t include keywords, do not forget to consistently check your search term reports to exclude any irrelevant keywords. You may also want to exclude any under-performing high cost broad terms.

Closing Thoughts

Using custom page feeds can give you additional ways to structure your DSA campaigns if categories are not structured in a way that works for your goals. Hopefully this option will give you additional ways to organize your campaign for better ROAS.


6 Ways to Include Customers in Your Content

Customers are the heart of your businesses. After all, they provide the revenue to keep your establishment running strong—the fuel to your engine, the peanut butter to your jelly, the milk to your mustache—too much? Jokes aside, have you given much thought to how your customers can actually contribute to helping you grow your customer base?

Peer-to-peer marketing is not only a viable channel you should be exploring, but it’s also one that has seen great success in both B2B and B2C marketing. It’s all about fully partnering with your network of happy customers to assist with social selling, referrals, and thought leadership. In fact, 91% of B2B purchasers say past buying decisions had been influenced by word of mouth from industry peers. The best way to capitalize on this is by including your customer in your content marketing strategy.

In this blog, I will share with you 6 ways you can begin to include customers in your content.

1) Customer Case Studies

If you visit any business website, you are likely to come across a collection of customer case studies either displayed on the homepage or collected under a dedicated tab. Case studies provide the most compelling way to share with your audience how their industry peers have overcome similar challenges with your solution in a relatable structure—a story. In fact, it’s been proven that storytelling can have a profound impact on the decisions we make. However, just like bad stories exist, bad case studies exist.

From my experience through the case studies I’ve been involved with at Marketo and the feedback I’ve gathered from sales (because they are on the frontline of feedback—and we’re all about that marketing and sales partnership!) I can share a few things I have gathered that every good case study has:

  • Real Results—Improved tactical metrics are good and all, but certainly not a compelling enough for your reader to base her executive buy-in pitch on. Take it a level deeper and dig for real, strategic business impact such as ROI, cost savings, or revenue growth. A great way of doing this is to continue the conversation and ask, “Why is this metric important?” or “Where has it gotten you?”
  • A Relatable Challenge—Your audience can take many different angles, but one thing that these stories should have in common is a relatable challenge for your potential buyers. If your audience is the banking industry share how your solution has helped Bank X boost home loan cross-sells, or how Non-profit Y had converted 4x more donors into members over the past year, or how Company Z has enjoyed greater functionality and therefore improved output and ROI after migration from a competing solution.
  • Visual Use Case—Sharing specific use cases (making sure to not get too in the weeds) helps to paint the full picture of how your customer got from A to B—and how your reader can too! It builds credibility and helps your reader visualize how they can similarly use your solution—it even may spark new use cases they can adopt with your solution.

2) Open Your Blog to Customers

Your customer base is a rich pool of knowledge just waiting to be shared, and customer blogging is an excellent way to do that. With a variety of different industries and personas who all have something in common, your blog provides a great platform to share new ideas, perspectives, and grow a community.

If you have a robust guest blogging program already in place, think about your editorial calendar and what customers may have a great piece of thought leadership to add to your blog. Remember that link-stuffing and blogs that are focused on selling your products can turn off potential buyers—even if the links that are stuffed in there are not for your own products.

Consider what you learned about your buyers during the sales cycle and reach out to them to write a blog about a particular pain point that they have. You can also use this as an opportunity to reach a new audience if you ask your customer to cross-promote or republish on their own channels with an attribution link to your blog. As blogging can be a relatively low budget channel, this is an excellent opportunity to maximize your content team’s time by giving them a reprieve from having to write every blog themselves! This is also a unique opportunity to give your customers an opportunity to tell their story and build their own brand up as one that focuses on thought leadership.

3) Feature Customers on Webinars

Similar to customer blogging, you can launch a customer webinar series. This is a neat way to feature customers as guests or even invite them to speak on topics they are well versed in. If you market to a variety of different industries, or if you have a built-out product suite, it’s a great way for your customers to share with their industry peers tricks of the trade, how they find success using your platform, or their point of view on common challenges.

The great thing about webinars, differing from the previous content channels mentioned, is that your guest speaker has the time to go more in depth, show live visuals, and interact with your audience through live chat. Giving a voice to the content adds a dimension of credibility—something not easily portrayed in written content mediums.

4) Go Live on Social Media

If you haven’t noticed yet, live streaming is not-so-quietly beginning to take over social media. It offers a fresh, exciting, and cost-effective way to engage with your target audience like never before. While live streaming is still a fairly new market given that many companies are still trying to fine-tune their approach, it’s certainly a craze to be a part of. In fact, so much so that spectators predict this industry to be worth over $70 billion, by 2021.

But why the craze? Numbers show that 80% of customers would rather watch a live stream video than read a post from a brand—But why you ask? Just like the trill that comes along with seeing your favorite celebrity hop on Instagram live or an influencer respond to your tweet, live streaming provides a new level of trust, transparency, and authenticity.

If this is something you haven’t yet explored—I encourage you to do so. And guess what? Featuring customer is a great way to get started. Think of how you can incorporate live streaming through live events, Q&As, interviews, announcements, or even behind the scene opportunities.

Marketo Live Customer Content Example

5) Promote Self-Recorded Video Content

Similar to live streaming, self-recorded video content is another cutting edge way to enrich your customer community online. Video submissions are a new and fun approach our team has recently begun to embrace, and it’s exciting to see how our customers have responded—Check out the team below!

Camille Crandall, account executive at Marketo takes advantage of the Marketing Nation Summit to launch a three-day mini-interview series of impromptu videos featuring customers and their daily takeaways. This was a really fantastic way to document the event!

Camille Crandall Customer Content Example

Also leading up to Summit, our customer marketing team launched the Fearless 50 nomination challenge. Our customers eagerly took to this challenge through their very own video submissions.

Fearless 50 Customer Content Example 1Fearless 50 Customer Content Example 2Fearless 50 Customer Content Example 3

6) Never Stop Gathering Quotes

And of course, we can’t forget the golden nuggets that enrich every piece of content our marketing team comes out with: customer quotes. The amazing thing about these pieces of treasure is that we can (and we do) include them everywhere—sales slide decks, battle cards, ebooks, white papers, social media. It’s probably the easiest and most impactful way we involve our customers in the content we produce.

One of the greatest marketing challenges is deciding on what message will truly resonate with your audience—and what better way to do this than through peer-to-peer marketing.

There are countless ways to include customers in your content marketing strategy, beyond the traditional case study or press release.  Furthermore, with the continued adoption and development of technology we have the freedom to do what we do best and get creative, try something new: be fearless. Sound familiar?

What are the most exciting ways your team involves customers in your content? Share with us in the comments below.

The post 6 Ways to Include Customers in Your Content appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


What is 3rd Party Data and How Do You Use it?

Data, Data, Data… We hear it every day. We work with it constantly. It is the core of online advertising. 1st, and 3rd party data sets are both used to varying degrees to help customize unique advertising strategies that deliver highly targeted ads to people with the right message at the right stage of the funnel.

We are all relatively familiar what 1st party entails. First data encompasses things like existing customer email addresses, their buying profile and at the simplest level, tracking their onsite behavior. These data points allow advertisers to target existing customers with up or cross sells, or provide highly customized offers to potential customers who did not convert the first time around.

What is 3rd party data?

3rd party data is the collection and aggregation of user behavior and demographic information that is collected by data processors and entities that do not have direct relationships with consumers. These include Oracle Blue Kai, Exelate, Visual DNA, etc. These companies provide publishers and websites with audiences insights or monetary compensation to all them to collect behavioral and demographic information about the site’s visitors and use it to create audience profiles of those users and they navigate web wide. The 3rd party vendors then resell this packaged data to advertisers for targeting within their ad buys.

How do I use 3rd Party Data?

3rd Party Data is usually leveraged in programmatic platforms such as Doubleclick, Mediamath, Trade Desk etc.

Typically, we see/use 3rd party audiences as a way to prospect and extend our reach to target personas that are are right fit for our clients. Where you may see the best success in using 3rd party audiences are the industries that have a larger price tag, or a longer sales cycle, for example, SaaS, Travel, or Car Sales. The reason being, these are very specific audience groups, there are numerous options for the consumer to choose from, potentially multiple decision makers, and ultimately a greater financial risk.

Let’s take Car Sales for example. Typically people have an idea of what level of car they can afford to buy. This immediately helps us determine how we bucket our ads and customize our strategy to the ideal audience. Ultimately, you more than likely do not want show ads for a brand new Tesla to a customer who earns $30,000 per year in the market for a used cars. Using 3rd party, you can filter down the audiences to those who are actively searching for Luxury Cars. This audience is typically better qualified and more likely to be attracted to your offer. Furthermore, this can be taken a step deeper, by segmenting the inventory of luxury vehicles into their model types and showing specific ads with imagery associated with the audience being targeted.

What is better? 1st or 3rd Party Data?

1st party data will always deliver stronger “results” in reporting. Consumers are lower in the funnel, and deeper in the consideration phase. However, without a strong top of funnel strategy, these results will soon begin to dwindle, audiences will shrink and costs will go up.

While 3rd party audiences are great for driving perceived higher quality traffic, it is still prospecting it should be intertwined with remarketing, RLSA, Search, etc. It will likely not deliver leads directly, but will deliver an audience that will likely move through the funnel at a faster pace and convert more easily.

Wrapping Up

Have you tried 3rd party audiences? What has your experience? Let us know @ppchero or @bryangaynor12.


Launch Your Multi-App Marketing Strategy

There are several things to consider when launching an app, however, the game changes when you decide to launch a second app. If you’re a brand that is considering a multi-app marketing strategy take these things in mind.


Who is your main audience? How does it differ from your other apps? By now you should know who your primary audience consists of, and have taken your audience into consideration when rolling out updates. Similar to when you launch a multi-brand strategy for web, you have to take the same considerations on apps. Having a clear branding strategy and a distinction between app audiences makes it easier to roll your strategy. Understanding ages, genders and the interests that resonate with your audience will help you create ads with their voice.

Audience and demographic targeting in Facebook


Location is another way to further define audiences for your apps. Are there certain GEO’s where apps installs are most efficient? Don’t be afraid to test out website GEO results on your app strategy. After all, testing is part of the marketing game. However, if you are launching a new app, it would be a good idea to test the high performing GEO’s of your first app if the audiences are similar.

Geographic targeting in Facebook


You used to be able to bid on keywords with Google’s previous Search App Campaigns making app keywords bidding limited. However, you can still implement a keyword strategy with Apple Search Ads.  When you launch with one app, the sky’s the limit with keywords. However, with a multi-app strategy, you need to be more selective of which keywords will be used for each app. This may require testing to understand which keywords are profitable for each app, and which make sense to define audiences for each app.

Keyword targeting in Apple Search Ads

Closing Thought

It may be impossible to avoid competition between your apps, especially if your audiences are similar. However, by being able to clearly define your audience, their demographics, and location while having a solid keyword strategy, you should be able to start your multi-app marketing strategy.


Time for an Honest Discussion about RSA’s

This Thursday, it’s time to hash it out.

Responsive Search Ads – what do you think of them? Have you found success with them, or have you been disappointed? We’re bringing in the search experts to chat on this one, discuss the impact of the new ad type, and suggest best practices for you to try.

Join Hanapin’s Matt Umbro and Directive Consulting’s Garrett Mehrguth as they engage in an honest discussion about responsive search ads, walking through all the pros and cons and advice around using the new ad type in your campaigns.

Discover answers to your questions:

  • Should you combine RSAs and dynamic search ads?
  • How can you test RSAs?
  • How do RSAs compare to other ad formats?






Staying Top-of-Mind Within the Modern Digital Landscape

Of late, I’ve had a personal breakthrough in the way that I look at delivering personalized experiences to customers within our ever-expanding digital world. Sometimes it can appear to be such a distant vision or complex idea to capture audience interests and then extend ongoing messaging through preferred channels of communication for each individual. We have the technology to listen, learn, and engage. But how can we do this in the most streamlined fashion without overwhelming our marketing resources?

Over the last couple of months, I have started implementing a logic for refining audience interests through our engagement platform and assigning follow-up communication according to the latest digital interactions that have greatly simplified the process for delivering a personalized audience experience.

While many unique variations could be added to the theme, here is the basic formula:

  • Start by establishing “listening” campaigns that articulate the preferences of audiences
  • Coordinate and assign ongoing communication to match these preferences
  • Expand the reach and reinforce the messaging of this ongoing communication through secondary channels and digital locations

There are undoubtedly many other approaches worth considering for articulating your digital marketing strategy. However, this formula is an excellent starting point if you are trying to move your marketing from single-channel communication to a more multi-channel approach. This article takes a look at each of these steps and provides some practical examples of how to put them to good use.

Identify Interest

“Put your feelers out there.” I don’t know where I last heard the term, though I believe it was a friend encouraging me to learn a new hobby. “You’ve got to put your feelers out there.” I think this is more of a reference to something like a hamster with whiskers or an insect with antenna. However, the analogy is accurate to marketing—as marketers we have to get an understanding of who we are targeting and their interests before we begin attempting to truly capture their engagement or calling audiences to action.

Digitally speaking, some people call this “casting a wide net.” What we are trying to do is uncover through digital interactions when and how people are connecting with our brand. To accomplish this, you need to be listening for engagement from the point where an anonymous visitor enters your website, all the way through to the point where they identify themselves, then on into their patterns of content consumption.

I may have already made many of us feel like this is a massive task, though in reality this often boils down to the following:

  • What brought someone to my site or content?
  • What actions are they taking on my site or with my content?
  • How frequently are they engaging with specific messaging?
  • Is the focus of their engagement shifting?

Let’s start with the source of audiences or visitors. With the right digital engagement platform, tracking where people are coming from is actually a whole lot more straightforward than it might appear. There are three main ways people get to your content: ads, referring pages, and direct messaging. While other means exist, the method for capturing these three sources can be applied to other channels as well.

  • UTM (Querystring) Parameters: The information located after the “?” within your browser URL is a treasure-trove of knowledge that can be used to identify what sent an audience to your site. Within your display ads and remarketing, make sure that UTM parameters are being used to determine which messaging has captured the initial attention of your visitors.
  • Referring Pages: Similar to UTM parameters, this information is automatically being registered by your browser and made available to 3rd Party engagement platforms. Essentially, the browser is able to deliver insights into what is driving audiences to your site.
  • Direct Messaging: Emails, text messages, mobile ads, and more all can supply sourcing information. While you may be sending out multiple messages, make sure to understand which of these messages are driving specific audiences to initially engage or continue engaging.
  • Clicks, Click-Throughs, and Links: much of modern digital tracking amounts to what part of your content or website an audience is clicking on.

Once sourcing information is collected, it is equally important to follow along with the actions and behaviors of audiences on your website. While Google Analytics is an excellent resource for a starting study of the overall effectiveness of page content, what is more important is to begin translating website behavior into audience preferences and interests. This is accomplished by looking for frequency and quantity of interactions.

Here is a simple, yet valuable example. Would you rather have a salesperson follow up with someone that visits your pricing page one time in the past two weeks or someone that has visited your pricing page four times in the past three days? The answer is obvious, though it illustrates a critical point, as marketers we need to combine WHAT audiences are doing with HOW often they are engaging. By doing so, we can create implicit segments of interest that are more in tune with the topics that will deliver personalized and engaging communication.

Coordinate Follow-Up

Listening for preferences must be fluid. With the right engagement platform, it is possible to setup workflows that consume information from all of the important touchpoints and dynamically shift segment inclusion to match the digital DNA of audience interest. This article does not go into the mechanics of setting up these workflows, though the right platform delivers simplicity and scalability, so you do not have to manually recreate the supporting tracking programs and elements over-and-over again.

With the right kind of fluid tracking in place to identify and assign interest segments, a modern approach to digital engagement will shift the assignment of content to match the most relevant topic or focus within the buyer journey. Rather than thinking of communication in a linear flow, modern digital communication is better thought of as a landscape of relevant “buckets” or “streams” of messaging. As individuals exhibit behaviors that match a specific bucket of messaging, appropriate platforms deliver functionality that can automatically adapt what type of communication an individual receives, or even dynamically adjusts the content of messaging to match their preferences.

Practically speaking, if someone has begun engaging with your brand in a generic fashion, then a bucket of content devoted to uncovering interest is the best starting place for ongoing engagement. As repeat visits to the same parts of your website, or consistent link clicks to specific topics, occur with appropriate frequency or quantity, it is appropriate to shift communication to a more targeted set of messaging. Finally, it is important to mirror the appropriate buying stage within the relationship and have buckets of communication devoted to stages of the sales process.

Other “buckets” can undoubtedly be uncovered to match your specific objectives and audience needs, though the concept is still applicable. Identify interest over time, then adapt the ongoing set of communication to match the digitally tracked interest of your audiences. Move messaging from generic to more specific over time—mirror and match interest and you are more likely to continuously captivate and engage.

Be Where Your Audience Is

The final element for keeping modern digital marketing strategies simple is to expand your messaging reach. Once interest is identified (or re-identified) make sure to setup self-updating programs or cross-channel audience lists that place interest-based messaging in front of your audience on a regular basis.

Here’s a solid example of how this works. When a visitor first comes to your website, offer initial messaging, then once their interest is identified, communicate across channels with messaging related to their interest. This can be accomplished by matching and reinforcing messaging across channels, such as remarketing, direct mail, text messaging, and more. The goal is to keep relevant topics top-of-mind throughout your target audience’s digital and offline experiences with your brand.

  • Use of low-cost methods for uncovering interest to start, such as email, website personalization, and mobile messages, to capture the core interest of a buyer.
  • Afterward, include audiences in more targeted campaigns such as ad remarketing on social media or direct mail to drive specific points of interest and be everywhere identified interest is at.

Summing Things Up

Delivering personalized and engaging interactions is a key to making brands stand out in our digitally connected world. To accomplish this, there are some basic steps that can help marketers begin delivering more relevant and interest-based communication.

While there are many approaches to consider, here is one formula that is a simple place to start:

  1. Cast a wide net to capture and track initial attention
  2. Uncover specific interest and focus communication
  3. Be top-of-mind everywhere your audience is

The best way to learn this methodology is to start with a target audience segment or set of behaviors that match a key sales initiative. From there, refine your methodology and build out a set of repeatable campaigns/programs. Then begin expanding the approach to other audiences and initiatives.

As stated before, numerous methodologies and frameworks can be used to drive digital results, this is just one. Would enjoy hearing more about your frameworks in the comments below.

The post Staying Top-of-Mind Within the Modern Digital Landscape appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.


Remarketing to User Actions Instead of Page Visits

When someone is brand new to remarketing, they typically start with an “all visitor” audience. This is not a surprise since “all visitor” audiences are a default audience in Google AdWords. Then as we get more experienced, we realize we can create audiences based off of other pages, YouTube actions, mobile app actions and more. But as Google’s technology evolved, so did the remarketing capabilities within AdWords and Google Analytics. What’s my favorite tool to help build better remarketing audiences? It’s an easy answer. It’s Google Tag Manager.

Not only does Tag Manager save time by allowing me to add all of my tracking codes in one location, but I can easily set up a variety of events to track in Google Analytics. Any event recorded in Google Analytics can be used to create an audience for you to use in RLSA or display remarketing campaigns. This glorious arsenal of user data -will give you a better understanding of user intent on your website and allow you to create remarketing ads that speak to the exact action the user took.

If you’re not familiar where to create remarketing audiences in Google Analytics, here are the steps.

  1. Head to Admin > look under the Property column > Audience Definitions > Audiences in Google Analytics.
  2. Select the desired View and linked AdWords account to which your audience will be associated.
  3. Click “Create New” to build an audience from scratch.
  4. Choose the Conditions option. From there, you can choose if you want to pull the Event Label, Action or Category before inputting the proper information you used during the Event creation.

Event audience setup analytics

When we remarket to page visits, we’re also remarketing to the visitor who was only on that page for 5 seconds and never came back. When we remarket to actions or engagements valuable to my business, I can try and guide that user to the next step of the funnel. Let’s see a few examples of tags we can create (with the help of some smart people) to help set up intent-based remarketing campaigns.

Form Abandoners

LunaMetrics has helped me out on this one. They have a very easy guide on form engagement tracking in Google Tag Manager. In just four, easy steps you will be able to see how many people started to fill out your forms, but never completed the task.

Form skipped

In the image above, we can see this form had over 2,000 people start to fill it out but never completed it. Those people are defined under the Event Action of “skipped.” We can then head over to Google Analytics and create an audience for those unique users.

Skipped form remarketing audience

Now you might be thinking, “Why don’t you just create a remarketing audience for users who visited the contact us page?” Fair question. Here is why I’d choose this approach. Who do you think is a more valuable lead? The person who visited the page or the person who started filling out a form? I’ll choose the latter any day. And because the user started the process of reaching out to the business, I’m comfortable choosing a more aggressive ad message since the user is further down the funnel than a first-time visitor.

After Hours Mobile Click-to-Call

Take a look at this mobile click button…

CTC button

We can clearly see the hours called out by the phone number. When we look at the analytics, however, we can see many people still call during off-hours. Yes the company has an answering service so people can leave a message, but I want them to convert ASAP.

Using Google Tag Manager, I created an event to track every click on this phone number from a mobile device.

Mobile click to call event label

I then went to Google Analytics to start creating the first of two remarketing audiences. You’ll see why we need two audiences in one moment.  After the Event Label information is entered, I added an extra filter for “Hour.” (As of the date of this post, Hour is the only time filter we can use in Google Analytics so I won’t be able to filter out Sundays completely.) First, I added the Hours in between 0 (midnight) and 7 (which will end at 7:59 a.m.) for the first set of off hours.

Morning off-hours audience

After the morning off-hours audience is saved, I created an off-hours audience for the evening with the Hours changed to be in between 18 (6:00 p.m. military time) and 23 (which will end at 11:59 p.m.)

Evening off-hours audiences

After my two off-hours audiences are implemented in my campaigns, I can then show those specific users ads similar to the following…

Snow blower ad

What’s the biggest fear for someone who’s snowblower is broken? It’s going to snow again. I’m using some scare tactics here to get the user’s attention. And since I know the user already tried to get a hold of me, I’m letting them know if they contact us, they’ll get a quicker response in hopes it steers them in the proper direction.

Time to play devil’s advocate again. You might be thinking, “If you have good customer service, won’t you call the user back?” Great question, but here are a few reasons why you’d want to keep pursuing those users.

  • You Want/Need More Information – If you have a CRM system, a lead might be more valuable if you collect a more of their personal information. This remarketing audience could better help you collect more data on your users.
  • Your Client Has Crappy Customer Service – Let’s face it. Sometimes we work with clients who are horrible with the phone. While I’d definitely push for cleaning up poor customer service first, it might be out of your control. This remarketing audience can help drive more leads if you know your client doesn’t put the best effort in calling people back.

People Who’ve Watched Videos Embedded on Your Site

AdWords already offers remarketing capabilities from YouTube videos. Here is a list of the current options we have.

New video remarketing list

While this video targeting is great, you can only use it if you have your YouTube channel linked with your AdWords account. I want to take my video remarketing lists one step further. Maybe you have other people’s videos embedded on your website. Or maybe you just want to remarket to users who engaged with the videos on your landing page. With the new YouTube video trigger released in the fall of 2017, we can now capture those interactions. Let’s take a look at just one example of how you can set up video trigger.

YouTube tag

Are you geeking out like I am? Of course you are. We can now capture when a user plays the video, when a user pauses the video, when the video buffers, and how long they watched the video (in either percentages or seconds). We can also choose to capture actions on all embedded videos.

Event label video

Your YouTube remarketing audience is complete! If you have the ability to create or showcase a lot of great video content on your site, then you’ll have no problem creating relevant remarketing audiences. Different ad groups for each video remarketing list will allow you to change your ad text to include a relationship with the video those users watched to have a better connection with your audience. If you want to set up video audiences like the one I mentioned, check out Simo Ahava’s post on the YouTube Video Trigger.

Final Thought

If you love remarketing, and we know you do, make Google Tag Manager your new best friend. You’ll find a treasure chest of new ways you can segment your remarketing audiences to test out new user behavior. I only showed you three, easy audiences you can create from event tracking. Let me know @MilwaukeePPC if you’ve had success with event remarketing audiences or have any questions on the set up.