No Industry Is Exempt From the Impact of Coronavirus

My Post (13).pngIt would be nearly impossible to name an industry not affected by COVID-19, positively and negatively. Some currently surviving, with regards to increases in traffic, are industries like gaming/gambling, media, and other streaming platforms. On the other hand, there are many industries struggling at the moment with a significant impact on traffic and demand for their services, such as the housing industry, hospitality, and some B2B technologies.

So, what can these industries do to keep their experimentation program up and running?

Influx of New Users
With the high influx of new users, it is a good chance to optimize your onboarding flow. You might not know much about the behavior of these new users, however, the increase in traffic allows you to experiment on what works and what does not work for them when it comes to onboarding.

  • Form optimization through shortening, pre-filling, or utilizing login with third parties like Google can all be explored to ensure you are capturing the new users
  • Onboarding funnel steps can be explored by testing the length, order, number of steps vs one continuous form as well as progression

Creating Urgency through Gating
If your site is struggling with a large influx of visitors and might not be able to cope with this increase in traffic, one option to explore through experimentation is gating your site. This could be in the form of creating a landing page where people need to sign up and will be informed when they will have access or could be a live ticker on the site telling them which position they are in (like a queue in the store).

Extending free trial or subscription timeframes
If your users signed up for a free trial before the crisis hit, maybe they currently cannot use your service to the fullest extent because you had to limit your operations. For example, sports games may have been canceled which means your users can no longer submit a sports bet, it might be worth considering to see the impact of extending the free trial period or offering an additional month of a subscription for free. With a simple test, you can see if your user base would respond to this positively. – Read more

Nine tactics to improve your PPC campaign performance in 2020

My Post (12).pngWith 2020 bringing so many changes how do you ensure that your PPC campaign is working as per the plan? Expert tips to successfully execute PPC marketing.

Coronavirus Economic Impact: Market Winners and Losers of COVID-19

My Post (11).pngThe coronavirus outbreak has not just severely impacted the health and well being of people around the world; it has also affected their behavioral patterns and daily routines. It has caused a ripple effect that’s shaken the entire global economy.

In any major economic disruption, some industries will drop, and others will gain. The coronavirus is no exception. We have analyzed the impact of COVID-19 on online behavior to reveal industries and companies that have been hit the hardest or boosted.

Market Winners By Search Data And Traffic Trends

Remote Working Platforms

During this pandemic and period of self-isolation, an obvious game-changer that is reaping the benefits is remote working tools and platforms.

Zoom Communications, a space designed for video conferences and webinars, skyrocketed from $108 on March 16 to $162 on March 23. An increase of 50% is staggering in itself and is even more astounding considering stock markets are slumping more than 30% — a true success story amidst a global crisis. Traffic to Zoom’s website has increased by 10 million site visits in the month of February.

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Search volume for Zoom also rose 22% from January to February and is projected to increase by 108% from February to March.

For calling platforms, it appears that only Skype will likely see a greater rise this month. Among messaging platforms, the branded search volume for Slack, an instant messaging forum, is projected to jump 71% from February to March.

Here is the trend of searches for all analyzed services for remote work.

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Home Fitness

One-third of the world’s population has come under lockdown and is partially or completely stuck in isolation at their homes. SEMrush market data reveals a rising interest in online searches for home exercise, which has drastically spiked in March. – Read more

E-commerce ad spend doubled as social distancing behavior took hold

My Post - 2020-03-23T164316.269.pngWill the pace continue amid supply chain challenges?

New data shows that e-commerce sites doubled their advertising spend between mid-February and the second week of March, as social distancing started to become the new norm for consumers.

Multi-channel ad spend. E-commerce ad spending jumped from $4.8 million the week of February 17 to $9.6 million the week of March 9. The data, released by media sales intelligence firm MediaRadar on Friday, encompasses advertising spend across national TV, print and digital media, including websites, Snapchat, YouTube and podcasts.

Why we care. Earlier data from Quantum Metric indicated that e-commerce sales for retailers that also have brick and mortar locations ” saw an average revenue weekly growth rate increase of 52% and an 8.8% increase in conversion rates” between January 1 and February 29. Many merchants have reported e-commerce sales exceeding rates of Black Friday and Cyber Monday levels.

This unplanned spike has caused supply and fulfillment challenges. Chinese manufacturing plants are just now getting back to full capacity after being offline since mid-January. – Read more

How to Create a LinkedIn Company Page and Promote Your Business

My Post - 2020-03-12T131716.176.pngHave you created a LinkedIn business page yet? If you are a part of a company, institution, or organization looking to boost your audience and facilitate growth, it is time to step up your game and get one.

Started back in 2018 by LinkedIn, these pages provide you with the opportunity to connect with consumers, while enabling them to discover more about what your company is all about. With almost 660 million members across 200 countries worldwide, you don’t want to lose out on the potential customer reach this platform offers.

LinkedIn company pages were created with the intention of providing your business with a point of direct contact with your target audience, as well as the chance to make new connections, employees, and ultimately, new customers in most company’s cases.

Whatever the size of the company, an up-to-date LinkedIn page gives you a lot of potential business opportunities. For example, you can promote new products, share interesting updates, establish thought leadership, post job opportunities and ultimately, build your brand with LinkedIn members.

A Social Media Platform for Business

LinkedIn may be considered as being the more serious social media sibling compared to Instagram or Snapchat, but it is absolutely not to be underestimated. The impact it can have on company growth is staggering.

  • 30 million companies are listed on the platform, and 52% of B2B buyers say that LinkedIn plays a highly influential role in their buying journey.
  • LinkedIn is equally powerful when it comes to promotion: 80 percent of B2B leads come from here, proving to be the most effective channel.
  • B2B content in LinkedIn feeds is seen approximately 9 billion times each and every week!

Want Your Business Page to  Stand Out?

Having a LinkedIn company page is important, but how exactly do you make the most of your business page, so it stands out from the crowd? Luckily for you, this was the topic of last week’s #SEMrushchat. – Read more

Using SEO To Lower Customer Acquisition Costs In 2020

My Post - 2020-03-12T130925.726.pngBack when I was a vice president of business development, I spent a lot of time and money on ad agencies in an attempt to drive more organic traffic to our website. The end goal was to ultimately see an increase in customer acquisition rates and gross revenue and a decrease in our CAC (customer acquisition cost). To me, Google — and how SEO and marketing agencies use the web foundation — had been a mystifying subject up until that point.

Is my money being well-spent? How can I actually verify that online digital marketing yields a positive return on investment? What is the most cost-effective way to acquire new customers? Does Google actually have robots? These were the questions I was asking.

I wanted to get the most out of advertising spend, and I didn’t want to sound uninformed on marketing phone calls. So, I developed a professional curiosity for the subject and fell down the rabbit hole. What I’ve seen from my experience is that the crux of business growth comes down to customer acquisition and how to do it as time-efficiently, cost-effectively and repetitiously as possible.

Keeping CAC Low 

Next to repeat customers, referrals, brand ambassadors and strategic partnerships, organic search is one of the most cost-effective ways to gain new customers. I believe it is just as effective as Adwords, social media, lead generation and display advertising. No matter what your demographic is, everyone uses Google to find answers, products and services. – Read more

Sheets & Excel Tips for PPC Newbies

My Post - 2020-03-02T170157.178.pngExcel and Google sheets are every PPC account manager’s best friend. As a newbie, getting familiar with these tools and knowing their applications for everyday PPC is super important. In order to help you along, I’ve outlined some helpful tips and how to apply them to your PPC account management. Essentially, I’m helping you *excel* at your job. You’re welcome!

Disclaimer: I have a personal preference for Google sheets, so you’ll notice that’s where the screenshots in this post come from. All of these tips are still applicable for excel lovers!

Concat & Concatenate: The Greatest Function of All Time

Okay, if you don’t know about concat and concatenate, then I am about to blow. your. mind. Concatenate lets you combine a number of different strings of text, while it’s little sister, concat, let’s you combine two strings of text.

Concatenate has a plethora of applications in the PPC word. For one, using concatenate to combine different elements of ad copy is super helpful! For example, you can insert locations into your ad copy to make your ads seem more relevant to the user. (A more advanced way to do this is with geographic customizers, but this post is for newbies!).

Here’s how:

Warning: This technique requires good campaign naming conventions, which you can learn more about here.

1. Create an excel or sheets doc with the campaign names and ad groups you’d like to create ads for. Duplicate your campaign name column and add three or more columns directly to the right of it.

2. Assuming your campaigns include location in their naming conventions, use the “split text to columns” tool under the data tab to split the rest of the campaign name from its location*. (Keep in mind that the split text tool will make a column for each grouping of data. Don’t forget to add extra columns or you’ll lose the data in your columns to the right).

3. Delete the columns with extra campaign name data that you don’t need and relabel the column with your locations.

4. You’ll notice in this example that there’s a brand campaign, so we end up with “brand” in the location column. You can use find & replace to exchange “brand” for something like “near you”. Create a filter and filter out any branded campaigns for now, since the ad copy phrasing will be slightly different between your brand and location-specific campaigns.

5. Now use the concatenate function to create your ad copy. You can either type in the text you’d like combined with your location text or you can reference other cells.

6. Repeat the last step with your branded campaigns, and there you have it! Fresh, new, ad copy that speaks directly to the user! Concatenate is especially great when you have a lot of data to work with.

Your finished product will look something like this:

*Pro Tip: If your campaigns don’t include the location in their naming convention, you can export the campaign settings along with the location column, and use a vlookup to match campaign, ad group, and location data.

Bonus Pro Tip: You can also use the concat function to combine campaign and ad group names to create a unique key for vlookups!

Creating Broad Match Modified Keywords

Broad match modified (BMM) keywords are wonderfully useful in your account, but if you need to bulk upload many at a time, it can be a pain to manually add those plus signs. Here’s a quick and easy way to add the modifiers to your broad match keywords:

1. Find and replace the spaces between any keywords/phrases with a space and a plus sign. – Read more

Display and search advertising: Top three strategies to expand your audience across channels

My Post - 2020-02-25T154001.039.pngOmnichannel advertising can be complicated. Digital marketers today have an unlimited number of tools at their disposal to get their message in front of the right audience through search advertising and others. While your channels or tactics may change, the goal of all marketers remains the same – to grow your brand and build your business.

But how do you know which channel or channels to use to achieve these goals? Many marketers with smaller advertising budgets start with paid search as the first channel to target, because of the simplicity of setting up a PPC campaign in Google Ads. There are no creative assets or media buyer required, and no fancy technology to learn or understand. Search also has advanced targeting abilities, offering companies the chance to get in front of in-market shoppers the minute they start their search. And the results of search campaigns are quantifiable, with insights into exactly which terms are resonating most.

Programmatic display advertising, on the other hand, can be a bit more difficult for some marketers to get started with. This channel has traditionally been considered best for brand awareness campaigns, as display ads can appear virtually anywhere your potential customers are online. Taking advantage of display requires either a direct relationship with a demand-side platform, or DSP, or a relationship with an agency to manage the campaigns on your behalf.

But choosing the right mix of channels for your advertising campaign doesn’t need to be an all or nothing affair. In fact, combining display and search together can have a positive impact on your return on ad spend (ROAS).

Here are three strategies to effectively combine search and display advertising for maximum results:

1. Cast a wide net

If you’re looking to find more new customers and don’t have a ton of traffic on your existing site or searching for keywords you’re targeting with search, the first step is getting more site visitors. This is where programmatic display advertising comes in handy — it offers a scale that paid search campaigns can’t, at a better price point. If you have a big promotion coming up in a few months, it’s a good idea to increase spending on brand awareness tactics well in advance, in order to have larger retargeting and lookalike pools ready to go when your promotion is ready to launch. So start by casting a wide net with display, and then continue to adjust and refine your targeting parameters as time goes by to optimize performance and find your next best customer.

2. Retargeting

Once you have brought all these new visitors to your site, it’s time to introduce cross-platform retargeting. For example, if you are running a paid search campaign for sneakers and roughly only 13% of this paid search traffic becomes a paying customer, that leaves another 87% of the audience you already paid for who abandoned the site without ever converting. Now that they have already visited your site, you can use retargeting to show them a new series of messages in the hopes of bringing them back to continue further down the sales funnel. Your specific retargeting tactics can be simple or sophisticated, but the bottom line is that they will help keep the conversation going with the visitors most likely to convert down the road. – Read more

Paid Media & Privacy: What’s Changing & What It Means for Marketers

My Post - 2020-02-17T185119.218.pngPrivacy. This is a word that’s likely to elicit different reactions from consumers versus those of us who work in marketing.

For marketers who live in Europe, the last eight years or so have been spent trying to wrap our heads around different pieces of privacy-focused legislation and how to best be compliant.

Our cousins in America have watched this process with feelings ranging from relief, to bemusement, to mild envy.

For all the change we’ve seen so far, 2020 is going to be the year where we see the biggest shifts yet.

It’s likely to have a profound impact on anyone who works in marketing, but particularly for those of us who work in paid media – regardless of which side of the Atlantic you live on.

So what’s going on?

Let’s take a quick look at what’s covered by GDPR and the upcoming e-Privacy Regulation, which affect Europe, but also take a look at the California Consumer Privacy Act and how this is likely to affect our industry.

Europe

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May 2018. In a nutshell, it covers how we collect, store and use personal data.

If you’re a company based within the European Economic Area (covers slightly more countries than are in the European Union), or you’re based outside and the EEA and ever process the personal data of someone who lives in the EEA, then it applies to you.

It covers personally identifiable information – anything that relates to an identifiable individual and could be used to trace or distinguish them – such as:

  • Name.
  • Social security number.
  • Date and place of birth.
  • Biometric data.
  • Education history.
  • Anything financial, medical or employment-based.

In the EU, it also includes your IP address.

As scary as GDPR been, there’s something even scarier on the horizon – the E-Privacy Regulation (ePR).

ePR is significantly more impactful when it comes to digital.

The last time regulation specific to the Internet was put in place, was 2003 and the online world has changed so much in the last 17 years.

ePR will apply to your business if you use online tracking tech, engage in electronic direct marketing, or provide online communication services.

It also expands the definition of PII to include anything that can identify an entity online – including cookies and metadata.

CCPA

The good news for those State-side is that the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is much closer in scope to GDPR than it is ePR (lotta Rs in that sentence) when it comes to what it counts as personal data.

It applies to your business if you’re based in California and meet at least one of the following:

  • Has annual gross revenues in excess of $25 million.
  • Buys or sells the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers or households.
  • Or earns more than half of its annual revenue from selling consumers’ personal information.

If you’re one of the companies covered, here are some of the things you’ll have to do to comply (I cheated and copy-pasted this for legal ease!):

  • Implement processes to obtain parental or guardian consent for minors under 13 years and the affirmative consent of minors between 13 and 16 years to data sharing for purposes
  • “Do Not Sell My Personal Information” link on the home page of the website of the business, that will direct users to a web page enabling them, or someone they authorize, to opt out of the sale of the resident’s personal information
  • Designate methods for submitting data access requests, including, at a minimum, a toll-free telephone number
  • Update privacy policies with newly required information, including a description of California residents’ rights
  • Avoid requesting opt-in consent for 12 months after a California resident opts out

So, it’s similar to GDPR, but also more specific when it comes to handling the sale of data.

Check and see if it will apply to you and what work you’d need to do in order to become compliant.

What Does This Mean?

Ultimately, the key thing that both of these pieces of legislation covers are ways that we track users which aren’t personally identifiable.

GDPR in Europe generally applied to information that could be used to pinpoint someone based on their real-life identity – so anything that would help a company keep track of me, Arianne Donoghue.

What it didn’t cover, and is now going to be covered, is anything that tracks me as an entity online.

To many data and tracking services, I won’t be known by my real identity – but they’ll have a user ID that identifies this 35-44-year-old woman who lives in the north of England, loves cats, and spends far too long browsing Wholesome Memes on Reddit.

They’ll know almost everything about me – except who I actually am, but they don’t need to.

If you have a Google account it’s always worth taking a look at the Ads Preferences and information Google has stored on you. It highlights how well services are able to profile us without knowing who we are. – Read more

How to Create a Newsletter Landing Page

My Post - 2020-02-17T184539.101.pngThe old adage tells us that “consistency is key,” but what role does consistency play in our marketing? Why is it a necessity rather than a nice-to-have?

When you are focused on thoughtfully building the reputation of your brand, you’ll quickly realize how important it is to provide consistent value to your audience.

It’s not enough to capture their attention once and never connect with them again. You’ll need to keep their attention by consistently delivering content in order to leave a memorable impression.

The best way to keep your brand top-of-mind is to start an email newsletter.

By starting an email newsletter, you’ll have an opportunity to connect with your subscribers on a consistent basis with personalized, educational content.

To start collecting email subscribers, you can use a newsletter landing page to attract visitors and persuade them to join your list.

The benefits of creating a newsletter landing page

Think of your newsletter landing page as the “gate” between where your audience is right now and where they want to be. If you can position your email newsletter as a solution to a core problem they are experiencing, you’ll be able to keep an engaged email list.

So, why should you create a newsletter landing page?

Not only are landing pages the best way to grow your newsletter, but it will also allow you to accomplish these specific goals.

You can turn social media followers into email subscribers

If you rely on social media platforms to communicate with your audience, you won’t always have a direct line of communication to them.

Platforms like Instagram and Facebook only show your posts to 2-3% of your followers (without paid social media advertising), but an email service provider (ESP) will deliver your email newsletter to every subscriber without the hassle of changing algorithms.

It’s also a good idea to turn your social media followers into email subscribers because they can be worth 15 times as much when they join your list.

Email subscribers are more likely to convert on your offers than a social media follower, so the main goal of your social media platforms should be to grow your email list. A newsletter landing page will help you do that.

 

You will provide consistent value to your audience

Instead of only creating automated email sequences to nurture your email subscription list (which we recommend utilizing), you can use an email newsletter landing page to communicate with your audience on a regular schedule.

Email newsletters are usually sent on a consistent weekly or monthly schedule, but you can adjust the schedule to fit your email marketing content strategy. Once you choose how often you want to email your subscribers, it’s time to outline what kind of email content you want to send.

Many creators send regular updates about their business, clients, or new projects through an email newsletter. Others send educational lessons on niche topics, helping their subscribers learn something new that they can implement into their life or business. Others tell personal stories that inspire and motivate whoever is reading them.

No matter what kind of email content you create, your newsletter landing page will help you build your email listincrease your brand trust, and grow your brand awareness once you publish it. – Read more