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Monthly Archives: December 2014

SEOlympics: Top Marketing Blogs of South Africa by @albertcostill

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By Albert Costill

What makes South Africa so interesting is that some 52 million people call it home. What makes it difficult is that there are 11 different languages, and there’s a history of division between the diverse population. Masingita Mazibuko, a director of marketing for skincare brand Pond’s, stated that “the trick is to know your customers.” With over 91% of B2B companies engaged in content marketing in the United States, it’s clear that brands have been trying to know their customers by creating content that is appealing to that specific audience. While some would argue that South Africa is behind in […]

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This Month in #ContentMarketing: December by @dantosz

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By Danielle Antosz

The basics of good content hasn’t changed in the last ten years, but 2014 did bring a renewed focus on developing great content. As we look into 2015, many businesses are planning to focus on content marketing in the coming year. Perhaps Stephanie Miller said it best: Content is King. Again. Still. But what is ‘good content’ and what is the best way to go about creating it? Each month, we will try to answer that question by looking at the top news and articles in content marketing. In December, content marketing experts covered everything from predictions for 2015 to how […]

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The Best of the Best: Celebrating the Top 10 of the Moz Top 10 for 2014

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By Isla_McKetta

Posted by Isla_McKetta

Oh no, another year-end roundup! But before you click away, let me sell you a little on why this is the roundup you actually want to read.

You see, to compile the
Moz Top 10 over the last year, we probably read 50 or more articles EACH WEEK, that’s around 100 articles for every issue. We then spent innumerable hours curating and culling until we could share with you the very best of those articles in the bi-weekly Top 10.

So this is not just another listicle. This article is in fact the distillation of the very best content from all over the interwebs for the past year that has anything to do with digital marketing. Basically,
we read 2,600 (or so) articles so you don’t have to.

What does “best” mean?

There’s no formula for what makes an article Top-10 worthy. We look for the best content of each two week period and then try and winnow and fit it until each newsletter contains just the right balance of digital marketing tips, tricks, analysis, and inspiration.

We work to reach beyond SEO and find articles that will help people who specialize in content, social, design, UX, and more broaden their skill set and understand the work their marketing compatriots engage in. The mix and style changes as the author of this newsletter changes. I’m biased toward content marketing, Cyrus loves SEO. Trevor’s a sucker for a journalistic slant.

But whoever is writing the latest edition is trying to find that perfect balance so you come away from the newsletter having found at least one article that teaches you something new, changes the way you think about marketing, or makes your job a little easier.

We look for articles by authors new and old that are
well written, well illustrated, and comprehensive. Sometimes we publish something because it’s a really good resource or because it says the thing that needs to be said.

Some pieces make the Top 10 because they are
heart-achingly eloquent. And sometimes we include a little something fun, playful, or easy on the eyes (but still educational) at the end to finish your day off right.

Then news
breaks (ahem, Google) and we reconfigure it all.

The Top 10 of the Top 10

For the Top 10 of the Moz Top 10, we could have gone with the most newsworthy content—articles that claim
some tactic is dead
or some era is over, but Search Engine Land already did that, so I wanted to take a different approach.

Instead, I chose the articles from 2014 that endure. Below you’ll find articles that continue to inspire, how-tos and guides so comprehensive they deserve a revisit, and, yes, even a few tips and tricks that you should really get to. Without further ado, here are the best of the best…

1. Life is a Game. This is Your Strategy Guide

If you can master life, all that marketing stuff is a cake walk. Level up in your day-to-day with this thoughtful, comprehensive, and gorgeous guide from Oliver Emberton.

2. Announcing the All-New Beginner’s Guide to Link Building

Paddy Moogan knows a thing or two about link building, and here he’s teamed up with some folks at Moz to turn all of that information into an easy-to-follow yet comprehensive guide. I had no part in this project, so I can safely tell you I <3 the Zelda references.

3. No Words Wasted: A Guide to Creating Focused Content

From getting customer interviews right to nailing content promotion, this massive guide from Distilled covers everything you need to know about content strategy. I learn something new (or rediscover something I should never have forgotten) every time I read it.

4. Micro Data & Rich Snippets: Everything You Need to Know

If you don’t know what micro data are and you haven’t figured out what to do with, your content marketing is missing a crucial element for SERP success. BuiltVisible to the rescue with this amazing and easy-to-follow guide.

5. The Beginner’s Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization

If you suspect there’s a blockage in your sales funnel, it’s time to think about CRO. This guide from Qualaroo will tell you everything you need to know to start pinpointing (and fixing) your barriers to conversion.

6. 2014 Industry Survey Results

A survey so big we can only do it once every two years. Peek at salaries, tools, and trends to compare where the digital marketing industry was at the beginning of 2014 to where you are now for a peek at what the future may hold.

7. UX Crash Course: User Psychology

Composed of 31 lessons, this online “course” will help you understand user motivation and how you can use psychology to massively improve your user experience.

8. A Geek’s Guide to Gaming The Algorithms

Sometimes looking at information from a slightly different angle makes it easier to digest. In this delightful piece, Ian Lurie teaches us when it’s okay to game the algorithms at the same time as he’s spelling out, in plain language, what each algorithm update was really about.

9. The Ultimate List of IFTTT Recipes for Marketers

Favorite part of this amazingly detailed post from SEER? The fact that it starts from a user’s perspective. So whether you want to “stalk your competitors’ stocks” or “keep track of industry meetups,” there’s an answer (in the form of an IFTTT recipe) here for you.

10. The Rich Snippets Algorithm

So much changed in the realm of rich snippets last year. AJ Kohn delves into the relationship between those rich snippets and knowledge graph results. It’s a heady post that just might offer some interesting insight into the future of SERPs.

Sign up for the Moz Top 10

Like what you see? Want us to read all the articles while you peruse a summary of the most important things you need to know?

Sign up for the Moz Top 10

After you click that big red button, you’ll be taken to the Moz Top 10 page and asked to enter your email and hit “subscribe.” At that moment we’ll put you on the list for the very next edition, currently scheduled for January 13.

Submit to the Moz Top 10

And if you’re someone who’s writing Top-10-worthy content and we just haven’t found you yet, we want to read what you’ve got. So please send us your suggestions. Each edition of the Moz Top 10 only covers content from the most recent two-week period, so send that link while the content is still fresh.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!



SearchCap: Yahoo Directory, Google Lyrics & Santa On Christmas

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By Barry Schwartz

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

  • Yes, Steve Scalise, There Was A Google In 2002

    US House of Representatives majority whip says Google not being “available” in 2002 prevented vetting his speaking to group of white supremacists. But Google and other popular search engines did exist.

  • Securing Investment In Content And SEO In 2015: 3 Keys To Unlocking Success

    So, you want some of those business dollars filtered into content and SEO in 2015? If so, defining these three key areas will help you put together a budget that looks at internal operations, the major issues hindering the website, and tracking results to keep those dollars filtering in. 1. Identify The Problems One of the […]

  • Doubling Down On Audience-Centric Marketing

    After a banner year for audience marketing, it’s a great time to revisit the concepts I touched on earlier this year and explore some thoughts on what’s further driving audience marketing trends as we move into 2015. There are some major, exciting changes happening in the digital marketing space: the increasing importance of tracking and […]

  • AdWords Scripts For Every Level: Part 2, Intermediate Tips For Editing & Troubleshooting

    This is the second in a three-part series on using AdWords Scripts. In the first part we covered how to read scripts. In part two, we go beyond the very basics and look at some of the issues that new scripts users run into. I asked scripts whizzes, Frederick Vallaeys, former Googler and co-founder of […]

  • Quality (Score) PPC Content: Our Top 10 Paid Search Columns For 2014

    This past year brought many developments in search engine marketing (SEM), and our Paid Search columnists provided insights, tips and advice for adapting to these various changes. Search marketers briefly panicked when Google announced in April that it would be removing search query data from ad click referrer strings, fearing that this would mean the loss […]

  • 5 Incredibly Practical Reasons To Do PPC In 2015

    The competition for visibility in the search results is fierce, which is all the more reason that big brands should stake their claim as a presence to be reckoned with online. Alongside search engine optimization, pay-per-click (PPC) can garner more real estate for your brand on the results page – and if you’re not there, your competition surely […]

  • 10 Things I Learned About Local SEO In 2014

    We may not be in school anymore, but as we in the SEO business know, the education process never ends. With that in mind, I’d like to share with you some of the things I learned about this bizarre trade we practice over the past year: 1. Never Again, Google; Never Again First they came […]

  • AdWords Scripts For Every Level: Part 1, Learning How To Read Scripts

    A primer on the fundamentals of Google AdWords scripts.

  • Yahoo Directory Closes, Five Days Early

    The core service that launched Yahoo as an internet company — the Yahoo Directory — finally closes 20 years after it began.

  • Why You Need To Make Dynamic Copy An Integral Part Of Your 2015 PPC Strategy

    As we head into 2015, advertisers and searchers are both suffering ad fatigue. Part of this fatigue has to do with the current state of paid search, including which features are considered necessary. The other part has to do with advertisers not adapting to a constantly changing PPC world. Larry Kim first touched on this […]

  • Mapping It Out: Our Top 10 Local Search Columns For 2014

    Consumers have grown increasingly reliant on the web for discovering local businesses and determining which ones to patronize. In fact, a survey conducted by BrightLocal earlier this year revealed that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, underscoring the need for businesses to build and optimize an online presence. Local business owners and search marketers responded […]

  • Search In Pics: Google Scream Room, Mr. Jingles & Jewglers Menorah

    In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more. Mr. Jingles On Holidays: Source: Google+ Jewglers Menorahs: Source: Google+ Mr. Jingles Baking Google+ Holiday Cookies: […]

  • Google Music Video Search Results Now Contain Links To Lyrics On Google Play

    Google’s music video search results also contain lyrics snippets with a link to the full lyrics on Google Play.

  • Google Translate Shows Santa Claus Picture As Easter Egg

    Google loves easter eggs and here is a special one for the holiday season. Search for Santa Claus on Google Translate.

  • Where’s Santa? The 2014 Santa Tracker Review, From NORAD To Google

    Santa Claus is on his way — and there are two excellent services to track his progress. Our guide to getting the most of out NORAD Tracks Santa and Google Santa Tracker.

  • Useful Links For Link Builders: Our Top 10 Link Week Columns For 2014

    When Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, kicked off 2014 by denouncing guest blogging as a link building strategy, link builders knew they were going to be in for an interesting year. And indeed they were right. We saw major brands like Expedia and eBay get hit with manual penalties, and many speculated that these were related […]

  • What I Learned In AdWords Can Help You

    I once moderated a focus group for Google where we split the participants into two groups: small agencies and large agencies. One key difference I saw between the groups was their willingness to share best practices. The small agencies seemed reluctant to share for fear of giving their competition an edge. The larger and more […]

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:


Local & Maps

Link Building



SEM / Paid Search

Search Marketing

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SPONSOR MESSAGE: Call Analytics Marketer’s Guide

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By Search Engine Land

This report examines the current market for enterprise call analytics platforms and the considerations involved in implementing this technology. If you are considering licensing a call analytics platform, this report will help you decide whether or not you need to. It provides relevant statistics on market growth, developing market trends, recommended steps for making an informed purchase decision, and profiles of ten leading enterprise call analytics vendors.

Sponsored by Invoca. Download now.

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Yes, Steve Scalise, There Was A Google In 2002

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By Danny Sullivan

Controversy has erupted this week when news emerged that the Steve Scalise, majority whip of US House of Representatives — the chamber’s third highest post — spoke to a white supremacist group in 2002. Part of Scalise’s excuse? Google wasn’t available to research groups in 2002.

From what Scalise told the New Orleans Times Picayune yesterday:

There is a lot more vetting that goes into setting my appointments. I have a scheduler. I didn’t have a scheduler back then. I was without the advantages of a tool like Google. It’s nice to have those. Those tools weren’t available back then.

That’s simply wrong. I can’t speak as an expert on politics. But as an expert on search engines, who has covered the space for nearly 20 years — from before Google itself even existed — yes, Google was available as a tool in 2002.

Google: Founded 1998

In 2002, Google was four years old. That’s pretty easy for anyone today to figure out. All you have to do is use that widely available search tool called Google and ask “when did Google start,” and you get its official founding date at the top:

when did google start

Actually, Google itself likes to move its exact birthday around within the month of September 1998 — but the year has always stayed the same. And by 2002, Google was well established as a leading search engine. Nor was it alone.

Google & Others Popular In 2002

comScore regularly tracks the most popular search engines. Back in 2002, comScore was known as Jupiter Media Metrix. Here’s the ranking of top search sites as of March 2002, from data given to me directly around that time:

comScore search engines 2002

As can be seen, Google was a popular search engine in 2002 — ranked third. Yahoo, even older than Google, was second. MSN Search, built into Internet Explorer, was the most popular.

FYI, the stats represent number of visitors, not number of searches. Today, we count searches to measure popularity, a generally more accurate figure. But even these older figures are enough to show Google was available for anyone who wanted to research groups, as were other search engines.

Nielsen has also measured search engine popularity, and here are figures given directly to me for March 2002:

nielsen 2002 search figures

Again, Google is shown as a popular search engine in 2002 — ranked third, as with comScore, in terms of audience. In terms of time per person, Google has by far the most — reflecting that most search visitors to Google were there a lot.

Indeed, Google was so popular in 2002 that it faced criticism from some groups that it was already too big and too powerful — and that’s also the year it was censored by China.

Searching Was Popular In 2002

A generous view of Scalise’s statement might be that perhaps search engines, while available, weren’t widely used in 2002. However, even that reading doesn’t hold up.

Consider these stats from Pew Internet, which has tracked popular internet activities for over a decade:

Pew Internet activities

The chart shows that int 2002, 85% of adults with internet access used search engines. That’s virtually everyone. Searching wasn’t an obscure activity done by a select few in the know. It was commonplace.

Of course, not everyone was online in 2002 — but being connected was also fairly commonplace, including for politicians. The same report also found that for all Americans — even those not reporting they had online access — 52% had used a search engine.

So yes — Google was available in 2002, as were several other popular search engines, and searching was a regular activity undertaken by plenty of Americans.

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Securing Investment In Content And SEO In 2015: 3 Keys To Unlocking Success

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By Jim Yu

So, you want some of those business dollars filtered into content and SEO in 2015? If so, defining these three key areas will help you put together a budget that looks at internal operations, the major issues hindering the website, and tracking results to keep those dollars filtering in.

1. Identify The Problems

One of the best ways to show that dollars are needed to keep your business competitive in the organic channel is to take stock of the existing problems on the site, then show how these are impacting its ability to win against the competition.

  1. Perform an audit of the website and your online visibility. Have a look at all the areas of the site that can be improved, from the technical back end to the content and beyond to social media and local listings, if necessary.
  2. Prioritize your recommendations starting with the biggest wins; that could mean focusing on the pages that are driving the most value first, or remedies that take the least amount of effort to make the biggest strides in improvement.
  3. Show examples of the major Google algorithms that can negatively or positively impact a site. Companies and practitioners are always sharing their latest findings on Google Panda and Google Penguin across the Web. Even though Google’s algorithm is complex and comprised of countless signals, Google does a good job of making things clear when they are important for webmasters to know. Explore the Google Webmaster Tools Help center and Google’s official blog for more info on best practices and algorithmic signals to watch for.

2. Show Who Should Own It

Getting budget for SEO in 2015 will require you look internally to take stock of your resources, skill sets, strengths, weaknesses and business goals. Use the following questions to get started in your research:

  1. Where might you need resources? Start by looking at the functions of a well-oiled SEO operation to start: quality content, technical SEO, marketing strategy, social media and even public relations.
  2. Where can your existing team excel? What resources and skill sets already exist?
  3. Will your resources come in the form of internal staff or third-party vendors? Does a hybrid model exist to get you where you want to go? What’s more cost-effective? What will produce the best short- and long-term outcomes?
  4. Will you train key employees from within on the skill sets needed, or will you hire new staff from the outside? What sort of salaries are required? What about training budgets?
  5. How will this team exist within your corporation? What alliances will need to be built to start demonstrating organic SEO results with key stakeholders?
  6. What processes will need to be put in place so the various roles within the SEO team work well together, as well as the SEO team as a whole acting as an extension of a larger team like digital marketing, and the C-suite?
  7. Where can you streamline processes as they stand today to make them more efficient, so you can save budget in some areas and allocate more towards other functions of SEO?

Something to note here that often comes up is the marriage of traditional marketing with digital marketing and SEO. Because the creative and the technical are now more closely aligned than ever, brands are findings ways to make things like technical SEO and content coexist so that both shine.

3. Implementation And Measurement

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised at how many companies are not measuring their efforts (or are doing so ineffectively). The C-suite is going to want to see how these efforts will translate into value, and that comes from setting key performance indicators.

  1. Be clear on how SEO will support your business objectives. Spell out all the ways in which it can do so.
  2. From those goals, create metrics – what are the things that are going to show you’re reaching your goals?
  3. Get proper marketing analytics in place, and be sure you’re using a platform that can help turn “big data” into actionable insights. Instead of stitching a bunch of random tools together, find an analytics platform that can integrate multiple data points for you.

Garnering and retaining budget for SEO requires continuously proving its worth. If there’s ever any doubt about SEO and the organic channel as a driver of traffic and revenue for a website and business, challenge your company to stop investing in it for a period of time, and watch the results wane.

Remember, search is a zero sum game — so if you’re out in 2015, your competition is in.

The post Securing Investment In Content And SEO In 2015: 3 Keys To Unlocking Success appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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All Things SEO: Our Top 10 Organic Search Columns For 2014

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By Jessica Thompson

All Things SEO is by far our most widely read column here on Search Engine Land, and our columnists have worked hard all year to provide a wide variety of helpful SEO content for our readers.

While many in the organic search community turned to these industry experts for their insights regarding major SEO developments this year — such as the Penguin 3.0 rollout and Panda updates 4.0 and 4.1 — it seems that readers were most interested in actionable advice that they could apply to their own campaigns.

Our most popular columns included many tactical and strategic pieces that run the gamut from basic to advanced, covering topics like how to write good meta descriptions, how to integrate Bing into your organic search strategy, and which tools to use in your daily work.

Readers were also very interested in forward-thinking pieces, suggesting that the industry as a whole is maturing – rather than scrambling to recover from unexpected changes in the search landscape, SEOs spent their time planning ahead and preparing for the future.

Without further ado, here are our most popular All Things SEO columns of 2014:

  1. Does Google Have A Secret “Translate” Service & Why Should Search Marketers Care? by Ariel Hochstadt. Published on 4/29/14. 1.2K social shares across all platforms.
  2. Single Page Websites & SEO by Tom Schmitz. Published on 1/21/14. 1.2K social shares across all platforms.
  3. Prioritizing SEO Strategies In 2014: Where To Focus by Warren Lee. Published on 2/14/14. 2K social shares across all platforms.
  4. 37 Awesome Tools To Get The Most From Your SEO Campaigns by Matthew Barby. Published on 11/5/14. 3.1k social shares across all platforms.
  5. Advanced SEO Experiments: Google’s Title Tag Changes by Tom Schmitz. Published on 4/25/14. 4k social shares across all platforms.
  6. 4 Easy & Honest SEO Mistakes That Could Penalize Your Site by Neil Patel. Published on 11/13/14. 2.2 social shares across all platforms.
  7. Penguin: Google’s Punitive Algorithm – And A Call To Google To Fix It by Eric Enge. Published on 7/30/14. 1.8 social shares across all platforms.
  8. The Bing Dilemma: What To Do With The Little Search Engine That Can’t by Nathan Safran. Published on 1/9/14. 583 social shares across all platforms.
  9. How To Write A Meta Description That Gets Click-Throughs by Neil Patel. Published on 11/26/14. 3.6k social shares across all platforms.
  10. Expert Insights On The Future Of SEO, Part 2 by Trond Lyngbø. Published on 9/11/14. 1.5k social shares across all platforms.

Methodology: Columns published in 2014 are ranked in order of pageviews measured by Google Analytics. Data was gathered on December 4 and include all columns published through December 3, 2014.

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Doubling Down On Audience-Centric Marketing

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By Matt Ackley

After a banner year for audience marketing, it’s a great time to revisit the concepts I touched on earlier this year and explore some thoughts on what’s further driving audience marketing trends as we move into 2015.

There are some major, exciting changes happening in the digital marketing space: the increasing importance of tracking and targeting users across devices; the dovetailing practices for managing, bidding, and optimizing campaigns across search, social, and display; the seemingly never-ending birth and rebirth of new and confusing ad tech related jargon.

You’ve probably felt as though things aren’t getting any easier. If so, you’re not alone: In a recent survey of over 300 digital marketers, 75% said that their job has become more complicated over the past year.

But with change comes opportunity, and marketers in our survey also reported that their #1 priority for the coming year was “creating campaigns based on deeper understanding of audiences.”

The Promise Of Audience Marketing

Audience marketing enables you to take information, such as intent and demographic data, to better understand your customer’s characteristics and how to best customize your targeting approach to reach them.

The idea itself isn’t new, but the difference today is that you have thousands of data points about your customers across hundreds of different interactions.

The power of audience marketing comes not from the insight you gain from a single point, but from combining insights across different channels and devices. This allows you to get a clearer picture of your customer, and subsequently, provide a better, more holistic experience to them.

What’s Pushing The Audience Marketing Envelope?

There are four trends to watch in audience marketing involving:

  1. Multi-channel, multi-device usage
  2. Customer data accessibility
  3. Programmatic buying opportunities
  4. Dynamic, scalable creative

Trend #1: Advanced Multi-Channel, Multi-Device Usage


Within the past several months, a number of different studies on mobile behavior were released. Three of the more compelling findings were:

  1. Mobile Vs. Desktop. People spend 30% more time on their mobile devices than they do with their desktop or laptop devices [1]. Yet interestingly enough, mobile ad spend continues to lag behind desktop ad spend. Even if ROI isn’t fully there yet,, mobile is a key catalyst for driving conversions and it’s time to think mobile first when considering the whole customer experience.
  2. Email Check-Ins. The average person checks their phone over 1,500 times a week [2]. Mobile is captivating in a unique and remarkable way. Whether it’s checking email, opening Facebook, or playing a game, mobile users engage in an extraordinarily high frequency of unique actions and sessions throughout the day. And although not every interaction leads to marketing opportunities, each opportunity has high-value potential because of mobile advertising’s tendency to take over the screen one ad at a time.
  3. Multiple Device Use. 60% of smartphone/tablet users use their mobile devices while using another device simultaneously [3]. It’s probably time to stop thinking about the customer buying process so linearly. Let’s go a little further here.

A couple years ago, Google released a study on the customer purchase funnel, showing how each marketing channel plays a different role in leading the customer from awareness to purchase. It’s a fantastic, easy to understand visualization.


The problem with thinking of the customer buying journey as linear is that it isn’t. Customers are going to bounce back and forth between different stages of the buying process on every channel and device.

As the IDG survey reported, it’s not just that people are using mobile devices more frequently; it’s that they’re using them in a tangled and complex way.

Multi-device usage is non-linear. Consequently, it’s more important now than ever to be able to work with a marketing platform that can tie together customer interactions and data from as many different sources as possible, so the final user experience is both seamless and simple.

Trend #2: Customer Data Is More Accessible & Easier To Put Into Action

In Marin-speak, we call this idea “analytics-to-action.” There are a few factors driving this trend. To start, the ability to capture first-party data and tie different pieces together using marketing platforms has become much more mature.

Marin itself has nearly 70 different certified integrations with data partners, enabling marketers to tie together their cost, revenue, attribution, and audience data to glean insights.

Third-party data has also become more economical and accessible than ever before. Whether it’s using third-party data to do modeled prospecting, or uploading CRM data into Facebook to get an understanding of customer characteristics and create lookalikes, it’s never been easier expanding your audience pools.

Finally, the ability to take all those different signals and then create and target those audiences has become more developed and straightforward.

Trend #3: More Programmatic Buying Opportunities

The increase in programmatic buying channels has created more opportunities for advertisers to leverage audience data in their media buys.

The Winterberry Group report found that nearly 60% of US companies are “aggressively pursuing” data-driven, programmatic approaches to audience development. And programmatic now represents almost 50% of total display ad spending.

However, there are still three key areas of programmatic buying where significant growth is expected over the next 1-3 years: Programmatic direct, digital video, and mobile. This is a big deal.

Programmatic direct represents the other, previously non-automated half of the display advertising pie, so a lot of the custom deals will now have access to similar audience data, while digital video and mobile represent key channels for reaching users across devices, and thus require the need to tie in audience data.

Trend #4: Dynamic, Scalable Creative

Finally, with better audience targeting abilities comes the need for better creative executions – ones that are dynamic and scalable enough to meet the specific needs of millions of individual customers.

Google’s Product Listing Ad (PLA) was the first mainstream programmatic ad format. By taking a common ad format and tying together dynamic elements like the product feed, the user’s search queries, and external information like product reviews, Google was able to scale a dynamic ad solution for retailers across every product in their offering. Suddenly, the effort that advertisers put into creating a single ad could be repurposed across a million ads.

Dynamic retargeting has been another one of the simpler, but effective programmatic creative methods for web advertising, taking a lot of the same elements present in PLAs and packaging them in a fluid format that is tailored to a customer’s prior behavior.

As you expand your audience marketing efforts, you’ll find that creative needs and expectations are paramount. So even if you pinpoint the perfect audience, you’ll never make a sale if your creative execution is poor. Programmatic creative offers a solution for marketers trying to meet the needs of each individual customer in this way.

Final Thoughts

Taken as a whole, these four trends signal that a channel-centric approach is too limiting. The only way to deliver a consistent, seamless experience across channels and devices is to take an audience-centric approach.

Identify your audience find the best ways to reach them, and ensure you can provide an immersive creative experience that takes into account their prior interactions with your brand.

1 eMarketer, Sep 2014

2 Tecmark, Oct 2014

3 IDG Global Solutions, “Global Mobile Survey 2014: Mobile Evolution,” June 2014

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