Campaigns Don’t End When You Hit Send: The Importance of Feedback Loops

This article is part of our series on customer experience where we focus on topics relating to connecting data, intelligence and experiences. Further reading: Why Inconsistent Messaging is Undermining Customer Experience.

While many marketers are enamored with the advantages of martech, it is worth remembering the activity should always be optimized. After all, marketing technology is only as good as the data feeding it, and customers’ behavior is constantly providing new data.

Feedback loops used to be directly communicated in person, during a one-to-one conversation. But as we’ve moved from an offline social culture to transacting primarily online, we need to find new ways to understand our customers.

It is now necessary to read customers digital body language to reveal purchasing power, location, interests and intent to buy – among thousands of other attributes.

For many marketers, feedback loops are a significant step up in the quest for better performance.

Targeted marketing is a standard practice. Though, ultimately the output is only as good as the data being input. Too often campaigns are verified through metrics that, in an effort to assess overall performance, fail to provide the granular level of data needed to optimize campaigns.

Fortunately, each customer touch point in a campaign can provide a feedback loop, offering different forms of verification and the potential to close data gaps — provided the right metrics are used.

Take an email campaign as an example. It may use good data segmentation based on a well curated CRM to push out the message. Traditional performance metrics would be the open rate or the click-through metric. They indicate that the audience you targeted actually interacted with that campaign. But the campaign doesn’t end after the email is sent.

The feedback loop would identify not only whether an email is opened or not, but who has and has not clicked through. Each outcome provides an opportunity to improve segmentation and optimize the campaign.

This process relies on an ability to tie actions to the individual. However it is not necessarily about identifying individuals. Digital body language is 100 per cent anonymous. Therefore privacy is maintained as global concerns are raising over data use and privacy mount.

Nevertheless it is a feature often lacking in many marketing metrics and ultimately produces disconnected experiences.

Not All Metrics are Equal

Many of the existing marketing metrics provide useful insights but fail to really optimize campaigns. For example, a media agency may offer measurements aggregated by region or messaging. It shows a campaign has reached a certain percentage of a target audience. It is useful information, and not to be disregarded, but at the level of an individual it fails the optimization test.

There is disconnect, because you don't know which of those people you targeted in the campaign actually engaged with it. It is not enough to know what percentage of an audience clicked through. You need to know who has clicked through, who hasn’t, and why they did so.

The solution is to include metrics that can be interrogated at a granular, individual level – digital body language. When that information is available, it produces immediately actionable insights and a finer level of segmentation. Connecting these metrics to the technology stack improves customer verification and eventually customer data insights.

Through proper feedback loops, campaigns are adjusted on the fly with the ability to target individuals who do not initially engage.

We can also reduce advertising spend by not targeting existing customers and increase our add efficiency by targeted those customers most likely to buy.

In ASEAN, the availability of third-party data on targeted customer accounts might still be an issue for advertising. However, over the coming years we’ll be seeing a lot more data become available as large players start to make their data available via third-party marketplaces such as Oracle’s Bluekai. 

Our customers who have used our Oracle Marketing Cloud to run multichannel automated campaigns (using email, push, and SMS) have realized significant increases in open rates and conversions.

While it appears an advanced use case of data and marketing technology, the current pace of change may mean it is soon table stakes.

Want to learn more? 

Download Seamless Marketing: Elevating the Customer Journey to New Heights

Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud

NatGeo’s Twitter Powered Chalkboard Robot

So for 2017 SXSW again became the home of experiential marketing, from huge VR installations to things like this… National Geographic’s “Genius” Twitter Powered Chalkboard Robot. The Twitter Powered Chalkbot turns selfies turned into art in a recreation of the iconic “Genius” (that’s Albert Einstein) inventor’s “chalkboard.” So visitors to SXSW got to submit their […]

Digital Buzz Blog

Is Influencer Marketing Dead? A Hard Look at The Newest Data (and What You Can Do Instead)

Is anyone having deja vu?

Every time a new marketing tactic becomes more mainstream, marketers and researchers inevitably wonder if it has peaked and started to lose its effectiveness.

We’ve seen this before with SEO, email marketing, Facebook marketing, and many others.

is seo dead google search

It’s a fair question to ask, though.

After all, each year brings new trends in marketing, and some tactics can go out of style. It’s worth examining different approaches to see if they’re still effective.

The tactic we’ll evaluate today is influencer marketing.

Though influencer marketing has been around for a very long time, it has only become a popular marketing tactic in recent years.

With the influx of social media in 2004, influencer marketing exploded and became a lot more prevalent.

Now, fast forward 14 years later.

Influencer marketing has seen some incredible successes and even a few massive failures.

That’s why we need to take a closer look at influencer marketing in 2018.

Should you continue to invest in influencer marketing, or is it dead?

The answer isn’t exactly a simple “yes” or “no.”

But recent data can help you decide if influencer marketing has staying power and if it is the right tactic for your brand to implement in 2018.

The complex current state of influencer marketing in 2018

Let’s dive right in.

I’m going to address the million-dollar question that everyone is asking:

“Is influencer marketing dead?”

Here’s the answer: not really.

But, I have to admit, its future is uncertain.

At the moment, marketers are continuing to focus on influencer marketing as a viable and essential marketing tactic in 2018.

In fact, in the survey below, marketers picked it as the “fastest-growing online customer-acquisition method” over organic search, email, paid search, and more.

fastest growing customer acquisition method

There’s no questioning the popularity of influencer marketing, especially in recent years.

Marketers seem to be searching for new ways to involve influencers on a variety of campaigns.

And they’re investing in their influencer marketing campaigns, too. The influencer marketing industry is booming.

Projections show that marketers will spend $ 2.38 billion on influencer marketing on Instagram in 2019. That’s more than a $ 700 million increase from 2018!

instagram influencer marketing

But it doesn’t matter if marketers are fans of influencer marketing. We need to look at the data to see if it works.

Is it truly effective? Are you getting a bang for your buck?

The answer to both questions is still “yes.”

Data shows that influencer marketing is still providing marketers with a strong return on investment. Let’s take a look.

revenue per $  1 spent on influencer marketing

The data shows that influencer marketing generates $ 6.50 for every dollar a company invests. Approximately 70% of companies earn $ 2 or more for every dollar, and 13% of companies earn $ 20 or more.

That’s valuable.

But you might not always be so lucky.

If you look closely, you’ll see that 18% of businesses didn’t receive any return on investment at all. When you factor this into how much a campaign can cost, things can get a little pricey.

This is one reason that many marketers (including myself) wonder how long influencer marketing will remain a viable tactic.

Many factors make the future of influencer marketing uncertain, too.

First, the FTC introduced regulations to “improve disclosures” in 2017. This helps consumers understand which posts are promotional, even if they are coming from an influencer.

While the regulations are needed, additional ones may cause some brands to stray away from influencer marketing due to the risk of malpractice.

Plus, influencer marketing campaigns are starting to get more expensive.

cost estimates of influencers

Mid-range influencers with 50,000 – 500,000 followers can charge anywhere from $ 400 to $ 2,500 for a post.

Influencers with a following in the millions can charge between $ 30,000 and $ 187,500 per post.

With such a large investment in a single post, marketers are expecting a huge ROI.

But there’s only one problem:

Many don’t know how to accurately measure the ROI from their influencer marketing campaigns.

An overwhelming majority (76%) of marketers agree that the biggest challenge of influencer marketing is determining the ROI of campaigns.

top influencer marketing challenges

How can you improve something if you don’t measure it? Worse yet, how can you even know if it’s working?

But the problem isn’t just with marketers.

Consumers are evolving, too.

The scale has tipped, and millennials are now trusting influencers less than they were in previous years.

millennial trust in influecers

Can you blame them, though? After all, think back to the Fyre Festival influencer marketing gaffe.

Influencers including Kendall Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, Whitney Fransway, and many others promoted the event. But it didn’t live up to expectations.

girl sitting in private jet sharing on instagram

As a result of this failure, 94% of marketers stated they were “not likely” or “very unlikely” to seek out big-name influencers for future projects.

All of these factors play into the unstable future of influencer marketing.

As you continue with influencer marketing campaigns for now, you should also begin to test, expand, and optimize other areas of your marketing strategy.

Here are the alternatives to influencer marketing that you should be focusing on in 2018 to help accelerate the growth of your business.

1. Focus on experiential marketing for live events

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget there’s a whole world “out there.”

Your customers aren’t always online.

Live events can provide a unique touchpoint for your customers that influencer marketing can’t.

And they’re effective, too.

According to a recent study, “79% of brand respondents said they would execute more experiential programs this year compared to last.”

Take Clif Bar as an example.

They focused on creating an experiential marketing activation at Pitchfork Music Festival last year. Their activation included a tattoo parlor, photo booth, and more.

tattoo parlor pitchfork festival

At the event, they distributed 26,000 CLIF bars, and one in 20 social posts with the tag #Pitchforkfest also featured the CLIF bar activation.

Live events provide a unique experience in real life, and their impact often expands onto social media.

HBO tapped into its live event playbook when they debuted their interactive Westworld event at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

Participants boarded buses and went right outside the city limits for an immersive experience that brought to life the fictional Westworld town from the hit TV series.

The experience was highly detailed and highly personalized. Participants could get their picture printed on a western “Wanted” poster, which aligned well with the brand.

wanted jon woods poster

People constantly shared experience on social media during SXSW. It stole the show and earned 62% of the entertainment brand mentions at SXSW.

Live events are an important marketing tactic to help you connect with your customers in a meaningful and authentic way. Influencers simply can’t do that for you.

2. Invest in video content to share your company’s narrative

Video marketing isn’t just flashy, and it isn’t a fad.

It is here to stay, and it can drive serious growth for your business.

Most importantly, though, is that it is becoming mainstream and responsible for a bulk of Internet traffic.

According to estimates, video will make up more than 80% of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021.

Hopefully, you already use video as a part of your content strategy. If not, you’re going to fall behind soon.

In a recent survey, 49.5% of marketers said that video will be a focal point for their marketing.

video marketing survey

That’s nearly half of all marketers.

Now, I know what you might be thinking: “My influencer campaigns already use video, so I’m all set.”

Unfortunately, you’re wrong.

You’re missing the chance to focus on everyday people and create meaningful, evergreen content that showcases your brand’s values and embodies your mission.

You can’t rely on influencers to create content that resonates with your audience. You have to do it yourself.

After all, brands often miss opportunities to connect with their customers. A study found that 78% of people feel that brands never connect with them emotionally.

But LinkedIn recently did this well in a documentary-style integrated video campaign. They used the hashtag #InItTogether for it.

Campaign Director Stacy Peralta talked about the impact of the campaign. She said, “I knew from the first reading of the boards that this was one of those rare opportunities.”

She added, “They asked us to tell real stories about real people, they wanted it shot in black and white, and they wanted energy, enthusiasm and candor from the people involved.”

That campaign generated great content for LinkedIn to share with their audience.

But where should you share your video content after you finish creating it? Well, consumers watch and engage with branded content in different ways on different platforms.

It’s important to know which works best for your business, but here are some generalizations across all social platforms for consumer viewing and engagement habits:

consumer viewing and engagement habits

As you can see, Facebook has the highest viewership as well as engagement numbers (60% and 49%, respectively), while Twitter has the least (41% and 22%).

The interesting part, though, is that there is only a 2% difference in viewership among the top three platforms: Facebook, Instagram (Video), and Snapchat. YouTube and Twitter fall close behind.

On the engagement side of things, it is much different. Facebook is the clear winner (49%) with YouTube (32%) coming in second. That’s a 17% difference.

So that gives you an idea of where you should be sharing your content. But now, you might be wondering how long your videos should be.

Thankfully, there is data to support the ideal length, and the conclusions are clear as day. Here’s the basic principle:

Make them short.

Approximately 56% of all videos that users shared in 2017 were less than two minutes long.

Viewers will lose interest and likely leave if a video is longer than two minutes.

average engagement vs video length

If you aren’t yet certain that video content can be effective in marketing, look at this experiment from HubSpot. They examined the difference between acquiring customers with video content and non-video content.

They tried switching to video content as opposed to blogs and whitepapers.

As they optimized and emphasized their videos, their views and engagement rates skyrocketed. Here were their engagement rates with their old strategy:

hubspot old engagement rates

Now, here were their engagement rates after they started emphasizing their video content:

hubspot new engagement rates

Before this experiment, their videos averaged 50,000 views per month. But in their first month of optimizing and promoting their video content, they achieved 1 million views. Those are clear results!

Another great example is BakedNYC’s video campaign.

baked nyc facebook

BakedNYC used video to capture emails, and their results were fantastic.

Through this campaign, they achieved a 40% increase in pie sales, a 68% increase in leads, and a 30% decrease in cost per lead.

Video content presents a huge opportunity for your brand. But creating quality videos might feel like a daunting task.

Don’t fret if don’t think that you can do this alone. You don’t have to be Steven Spielberg.

There are plenty of tools that can help you create engaging video content on a low budget in a tight timeframe.

One of them is Promo.

promo homepage 2018

I love Promo because they have over 12.5 million clips that you can customize. You can add music, text, and even your logo to personalize the clips and make them your own.

Magisto is another great tool to use.

magisto homepage in 2018

The cool thing about Magisto is that it has a smart video editor, which makes it incredibly easy to cut and edit your videos online.

These tools can help create great video content that will drive sales on your website.

If you want to get the most out of your marketing efforts in 2018, spend time crafting video promotional campaigns and fine-tuning your video content strategy.

3. Initiate an affiliate marketing program

Not having an effective affiliate marketing program in place is simply leaving money on the table.

Affiliate marketing can bring in a lot of money for your business. To put it in perspective, 15% of the digital media industry’s revenue comes from affiliate marketing.

With affiliate marketing, you’re letting related sites and partners do the work for you.

So, where do you begin?

There are three types of affiliate programs that you can implement:

  • Pay-per-sale: The merchant pays the affiliate in relation to the number of sales that they received from their site.
  • Pay-per-click: The merchant pays the affiliate in relation to the number of clicks that visitors performed while browsing the affiliate’s site.
  • Pay-per-lead: The merchant pays the affiliates in relation to the number of people who sign up.

Affiliate programs succeed in ways that influencer marketing doesn’t. First, it’s usually a win-win for both the affiliate and the merchant because you share the same business goals.

Sites want to send you traffic so that they can earn money. You want the same thing because the affiliate will send you new customers. It’s a win for both of you.

In some cases, influencers don’t share the same mission. They might be just looking for a quick payout, which could lead them to share your campaign in a way that isn’t authentic or true to their brand or yours.

The Points Guy is an example of a company that has a strong affiliate marketing program in place.

He started his site as a place to show people how to travel by using points they’ve amassed from purchases. Now, the site is an affiliate site for credit cards, hotels, and flights.

In his AMA, he confirmed that he receives “2.5 million monthly unique views and gets $ 50-$ 400 per credit card someone signs up for.”

the points guy reviews in 2018

As a business, you can harness the traffic that is already in place for a well-oiled site. By giving them a little kickback, you both win.

They’ll make money, and you’ll acquire a new customer. It’s really a no-brainer.

4. Be responsive on social media and circulate user-generated content

If you’re reading this blog, I’d go out on a limb to say you have, at the very least, a presence on social media.

While influencers typically utilize social media to propel their efforts, sometimes taking matters into your own hands can retain customers and have a more profound impact on your sales.

Social media marketing has been an important part of any marketing strategy over the years, and it only continues to evolve in 2018.

most effective digital marketing tactic for 2018

Your customers are already hanging out on there. New data shows that a majority of Americans are now on Facebook and YouTube.

majority of american now use facebook and youtube

Once again, this fact reinforces your need for video content.

But how else can you use social media to grow your audience and increase sales? One important answer is quite simple:

By being responsive.

Data shows that companies can make a dramatic effect on their bottom lines if they are responsive and engaging on social media.

Consumers say that the best way for a brand to get them to make a purchase is by simply being responsive.

brand actions that promote purchases

If you respond on social media, people will talk about your positive customer service interactions. Studies found that approximately 48% of people tell their friends about a good customer experience on social media.

This creates a powerful form of word-of-mouth marketing. Your customers’ friends can soon become your new customers.

Facebook understand how impatient people are. They’re now labeling pages with badges that designate their response times.

facebook page about

To get the coveted “Very responsive to messages” badge, you need to achieve two things over the course of seven days:

  1. A response rate of 90%
  2. A response time of 15 minutes

But what if you get a lot of inquiries? How should you keep up with all of them?

Mention is a tool that can help you streamline your customer experience operations on social media.

mention homepage in 2018

It can provide assistance and organize your mentions in an easy-to-read way so that you aren’t overwhelmed.

An example of exemplary customer service on social media would be JetBlue.

jetblue interaction with customer on twitter

Before things got out of hand, they moved quickly and efficiently to resolve the situation, resulting in a happy, satisfied customer who might buy again.

But that’s not all. JetBlue cares so much about their customer service that they announced a partnership and investment in the customer service startup Gladly.

Here’s what Bonny Simi, the president of JetBlue’s corporate venture group, said about their customer service strategy:

“People just don’t want to call in anymore, so we are aiming for omnichannel communication that is on at all hours.”

He added, “[This communication should] take advantage of AI to resolve customers’ issues as quickly as possible, and that will work with all of the important messenger apps.”

As you work on being responsive on social media, you’ll want to circulate the incredible content (photos, videos, and comments) and great accolades that your users are sharing. User-generated content is incredibly valuable.

Sponsors generally pay influencers to post about their products or content. User-generated content, on the other hand, has no financial incentive.

It makes your brand more authentic.

which statement do you agree with

And it’s needed now more than ever.

Research shows that “92 percent of consumers trust organic, user-generated content (UGC) more than they trust traditional advertising.”

Currently, Southwest Airlines is running a user-generated campaign that they call 175 Stories. This integrated campaign invites customers to share their seat story using the hashtag #175Stories.

They even launched a microsite to further share the content.

southwest airlines explore the stories

Judging by a quick hashtag search, the campaign seems to be effective.

Encouraging users to act as your own photographers and share their content can have a positive impact on your business’s growth.

An active presence on social media is not only beneficial to your customers. It can also do wonders for your brand awareness and revenue.

5. Leverage social messaging apps to reach more customers and connect with existing ones

Mobile messaging marketing has emerged as a new trend in 2018.

It seems like social messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and many others) are all the craze these days.

And honestly, they should be.

Influencer marketing shares one message with many people. By using social messaging apps, you can send numerous highly-personalized messages to many people.

Users and businesses on Facebook send approximately 8 billion messages on Messenger every month.

The best part is that they usually have high open and click-through rates, too.

The growth of these messaging apps has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2017, over 76% of smartphone users worldwide used messaging apps.

mobile phone message app users worldwide

The graph also shows that, according to current projections, there will be 2.48 billion mobile phone messaging app users by 2021.

If you want to be where your customers are, then you should think about how you’re leveraging your messaging app strategy.

But what’s interesting is that not all marketers, for some reason or another, aren’t using this as a marketing tactic.

The State of Social 2018” study found that, despite the increase in interest and adoption of messaging apps, nearly 80% of businesses don’t market through them at all.

has your business used messaging apps for marketing

That’s bad for them, but it’s great for you.

Fewer businesses promoting their messages means a greater chance of yours cutting through the clutter.

Messaging apps are a great place to distribute content and offer promotional deals directly to your customers.

Look at how DigitalMarketer used a chatbot to distribute their “Ending the War Between Sales & Marketing” report.

Those interested in the report could connect their Facebook with just a simple click. Then, an automated message would arrive in their Messenger account with a link to the report.

It’s quick, easy, and even feels a little personal.

digitalmarketer chatbot

But this isn’t just a flashy way to distribute content.

It gets results, too.

For example, look at this retargeting campaign that used a chatbot to allow customers to “unlock a special discount.”

The results were incredible. They achieved a 48.2x ROAS (up from 5.6x) and a 1133% conversion rate increase.

HolidayPirates saw incredible success when they used a chatbot to deliver a promotion code to their customers.

They have over nine million digital followers, and they wanted to interact with them on social messaging platforms and send them a holiday promotion.

They grew their WhatsApp following to 750,000+ and achieved open rates of 50-60% and 90% click-through rates for the campaign.

holidaypirates how we attract subscribers

A 90% click-through rate?

That’s something you don’t see every day.

To get a chatbot set up, you just need to follow a few easy steps.

For this example, I’m going to use

First, visit their homepage and click on “Get Started for Free.”

its alive get started

Then, fill out the information they ask for to register your account.

its alive register

From there, choose your plan and hit “Next.”

its alive choose your plan

Name and describe your bot, and then hit “Create this bot.”

its alive new bot

Click on the pencil icon to edit the test bot that you get by default.

is alive edit bot

Add your trigger and text. Triggers can vary from keywords to events. You can then program what you’d like the bot to do.

You can add as many triggers and texts as you’d like.

In this case, I am setting up the bot to answer FAQs.

is alive bot faq

Then, click the back button and select “Link to Facebook” in the menu.

From there, you’ll want to “Connect to your Facebook account” and select your business page.

Take special note of the test code as well. You will have to add that four-character code when you test your bot.

its alive link to facebook

Then, you can test your bot and see it in action for yourself.

its alive testing bot

Continue to tweak your bot until it accomplishes your business objectives.

Due to the widespread adoption of messaging apps and the generally untapped potential of social messaging marketing, your business could cut directly through the clutter with this tactic.

You should really consider how you can leverage it to reach new customers.

6. Continue to invest in your email marketing strategy

You might be thinking, “Email marketing. That’s so old school.”

While that may be true, it’s still a viable marketing tactic that you should double down on.

One advantage is that you can control and target your audience with email marketing better than you can with influencer marketing.

Emails are part of everyday life, and using them as a marketing medium gets results. After all, users send 149,000+ emails each day.

That might sound like a lot of clutter, and it is. But it’s important that you keep your business top of mind in your customers’ inboxes.

But why?

Email still has the highest ROI when you compare it to any other marketing tactic.

For every $ 1 businesses spend on email marketing, they average a $ 38 return.

email delivers highest roi

Notice how email marketing soars ahead of affiliate marketing, paid search, display ads, videos, social media marketing, and traditional marketing tactics.

If you want to assess the ROI of your email marketing campaigns, I recommend this email marketing ROI tool.

It’s very easy to use and can provide great insights into your current email marketing efforts.

Marketers even collectively agree that email has staying power in 2018.

In one survey, marketing professionals rated the effectiveness of digital marketing channels. Approximately 35% gave email marketing a “good” rating, and 18% rated it as “excellent.”

effectiveness of digital media channels

This put email marketing in the lead as one of the most effective digital marketing channels according to marketers.

In 2018, you need to have an email marketing strategy in place and execute highly-personalized and targeted campaigns.

Customers are expecting this in all marketing tactics, but especially in email. If you haven’t targeted your email, they’ll consider it irrelevant to them. You can bet they’ll delete it.

Even worse, they might not open it.

effects of personalization in the shopping experience

A total of 49% of shoppers said that personalization “has led shoppers to purchase an item that wasn’t planned.”

By personalizing your copy, messaging, design, and even your pricing structure, you can encourage conversions and move customers to buy.

You can do this by segmenting your lists (separating your lists to ensure the correct campaign is going to the right audience) and using dynamic copy or pricing.

segment your list convert

How do you make sure that you’ve personalized your email campaigns and that you’re sending them to the right people?

That’s what the men’s shirt company Twillory had to answer.

The team initiated an email campaign when they moved into a larger warehouse. They sent the below email to their first-tier recipients and achieved a 48.5% open rate and an 8% CTR.


To their less-engaged tier, they stripped the graphic away and took a simpler, personalized, text-based approach.

all text email

This resulted in “a 33% open rate and 11% click-through rate with a group of people who had not engaged in over 270 days.”

That’s a significant impact for their email marketing efforts.

If you want to effectively reach your customers, then deploy smart, personalized, and targeted email marketing campaigns.


Influencer marketing isn’t dead.

At least, it isn’t dead yet.

For now, it still can perform as a viable part of your marketing strategy. The influencer marketing industry is still booming, and it’s still profitable in many cases.

But it may not be around for much longer. It’s becoming increasingly expensive, there’s no guarantee of results, it’s difficult to track the ROI of campaigns, and users are beginning to trust influencers less.

You need to prepare for alternate ways to acquire customers.

Turn to video content to share a compelling narrative about your brand or help put a product on display.

Engage with customers directly on social media. Go out of your way to provide out-of-this-world service experiences that will turn your customers into passionate fans.

Focus on messenger marketing and directly share content, promotions, and solutions through messaging apps.

Finally, double down on email marketing. But as you do so, make sure that you target the right audience and personalize your messages with dynamic content.

If you do all of this, you’ll be ready if the days of influencer marketing come to an end.

What marketing tactics will you use in place of influencer marketing in 2018?

The post Is Influencer Marketing Dead? A Hard Look at The Newest Data (and What You Can Do Instead) appeared first on Neil Patel.

Blog – Neil Patel

This Is The New Google Earth: Explained Here

So here it is. The new Google Earth. You’ve not got the whole world in your browser. Ready to explore. To get lost. Perhaps you can fly through landmarks around the world, and your favourite cities like London, Sydney and NYC in stunning 3D, then dive in to experience them first hand with Street View, […]

Digital Buzz Blog

Study calls out ‘dark patterns’ in Facebook and Google that push users toward less privacy

More scrutiny than ever is in place on the tech industry, and while high-profile cases like Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance in front of lawmakers garner headlines, there are subtler forces at work. This study from a Norway watchdog group eloquently and painstakingly describes the ways that companies like Facebook and Google push their users towards making choices that negatively affect their own privacy.

It was spurred, like many other new inquiries, by Europe’s GDPR, which has caused no small amount of consternation among companies for whom collecting and leveraging user data is their main source of income.

The report (PDF) goes into detail on exactly how these companies create an illusion of control over your data while simultaneously nudging you towards making choices that limit that control.

Although the companies and their products will be quick to point out that they are in compliance with the requirements of the GDPR, there are still plenty of ways in which they can be consumer-unfriendly.

In going through a set of privacy popups put out in May by Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, the researchers found that the first two especially feature “dark patterns, techniques and features of interface design mean to manipulate users…used to nudge users towards privacy intrusive options.”

Flowchart illustrating the Facebook privacy options process – the green boxes are the “easy” route.

It’s not big obvious things — in fact, that’s the point of these “dark patterns”: that they are small and subtle yet effective ways of guiding people towards the outcome preferred by the designers.

For instance, in Facebook and Google’s privacy settings process, the more private options are simply disabled by default, and users not paying close attention will not know that there was a choice to begin with. You’re always opting out of things, not in. To enable these options is also a considerably longer process: 13 clicks or taps versus 4 in Facebook’s case.

That’s especially troubling when the companies are also forcing this action to take place at a time of their choosing, not yours. And Facebook added a cherry on top, almost literally, with the fake red dots that appeared behind the privacy popup, suggesting users had messages and notifications waiting for them even if that wasn’t the case.

When choosing the privacy-enhancing option, such as disabling face recognition, users are presented with a tailored set of consequences: “we won’t be able to use this technology if a stranger uses your photo to impersonate you,” for instance, to scare the user into enabling it. But nothing is said about what you will be opting into, such as how your likeness could be used in ad targeting or automatically matched to photos taken by others.

Disabling ad targeting on Google, meanwhile, warns you that you will not be able to mute some ads going forward. People who don’t understand the mechanism of muting being referred to here will be scared of the possibility — what if an ad pops up at work or during a show and I can’t mute it? So they agree to share their data.

Before you make a choice, you have to hear Facebook’s case.

In this way users are punished for choosing privacy over sharing, and are always presented only with a carefully curated set of pros and cons intended to cue the user to decide in favor of sharing. “You’re in control,” the user is constantly told, though those controls are deliberately designed to undermine what control you do have and exert.

Microsoft, while guilty of the biased phrasing, received much better marks in the report. Its privacy setup process put the less and more private options right next to each other, presenting them as equally valid choices rather than some tedious configuration tool that might break something if you’re not careful. Subtle cues do push users towards sharing more data or enabling voice recognition, but users aren’t punished or deceived the way they are elsewhere.

You may already have been aware of some of these tactics, as I was, but it makes for interesting reading nevertheless. We tend to discount these things when it’s just one screen here or there, but seeing them all together along with a calm explanation of why they are the way they are makes it rather obvious that there’s something insidious at play here.

Social – TechCrunch

Turning statistics into stories: the key to nonprofit marketing

Guest post by Ayla Tezel, Executive Vice President, Communications at Wounded Warrior Project. Originally published here.


The number of nonprofit organizations in the United States has skyrocketed, from more than 630,000 in 1999  to more than 1.5 million by 2016. I expect that number to grow, and public charities will continue competing for limited attention from individuals and corporations around the country.

How does any single organization break through and convince donors their cause is worth attention? How do we drive attention to our programs in an age of “fake news” and plummeting trust in media?

My inspiration in answering these questions comes from Wounded Warrior Project (WWP)’s mission: to connect, serve and empower wounded warriors—the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country.

But they’re not just warriors; they’re people. They are people who deserve to come home from the battlefield to a welcoming community, people whose experiences have shaped who they are—and people who essentially are a lot like everyone else.

And that gives them powerful stories to share.

Put Relatable People Front and Center

Research shows that around the globe, the public is more likely to trust “a person like yourself” than the leadership of an organization. With that in mind, at WWP, we produce content that’s relatable to people—and that often means video vignettes featuring veterans telling their own stories.

There are no words as powerful as when the spouse of a service member candidly shares how their loved one needed psychological support to recover from PTSD upon returning from duty. Through genuine, and sometimes raw, emotion, video turns a statistic into a story, and stories are what drive action.

Video Creates Emotion

This December at Social Fresh 2017, the longest running social marketing conference, I’ll be speaking about how we produce videos that make an impact without exhausting our budget. We’ve learned to be creative both in how we produce them—sometimes filming on an iPhone—and in how we distribute them, internally and externally.

Video marketing is expected to account for 80 percent of all Internet traffic in the next two years. The key is to use it wisely—to foster personal connections to your mission through storytelling.

Videos like this one draw thousands of visitors and keep them engaged for long periods of time. They’re also more likely to come back to our sites if they’ve seen a particularly moving video there before.

Video Ads = Donations

And in the ultimate test for a nonprofit, we’ve seen video translate into increased donations, which allow us to provide all of our programs free of charge. Last year during “giving season,” we ran several ads on social media. The ads that contained video outperformed all other ad types, garnering 43 percent of all revenue for the social campaigns. But those are just statistics; the real story is how we’ve used those donations to help veterans who have dedicated so much of their lives to this country.

After the Social Fresh conference in December, I’ll report back with more insights about the strategies various organizations have employed to make video storytelling work effectively.

I’m curious—what have you discovered?

Social Fresh

Everything I Taught You About SEO Was Wrong

neil patel seo

Before I get into why everything I taught you about SEO was wrong, let me first give you some context on how I (and many marketers) became SEOs.

When I started off with my entrepreneurial journey, I didn’t have much money.

I was working at a theme park where I cleaned restrooms and picked up garbage.

Although most companies grow through paid ads, that just wasn’t possible for me because I was making $ 5.75 an hour.

I had no choice but to learn SEO and get good at it if I ever wanted my site to generate traffic and hopefully make money.

And just like most SEOs, I always thought that the keywords that people spend the most money on tend to convert well.

Just think about it: If a company is spending $ 50 a click for certain keywords they have to be making money.

So, wouldn’t those be the keywords that you would want to go after?

Here’s how I taught people how to do SEO over the years

Back in the day I would use keyword tools like Ubersuggest, find all of the high traffic keywords within my space that had a high cost per click, and write tons of blog posts on them.

ubersuggest seo

And then I would go to Ahrefs to look at all of my competitors, see what their most popular pages were, look at their traffic value number, and, of course, write longer versions of their post that were better so I could take over their rankings and traffic.

hubspot top pages

By using these 2 tactics your traffic would grow over time.

Extremely fast too if you could crank out the content fast enough… just look at my search traffic per month over the years.

(Yes, there is more to SEO than these two tactics, but they work really well.)

traffic overtime

Can you guess how much more revenue I’ve generated as my search traffic grew?

Well, according to SEMrush, the search traffic that I generate in the United States alone is worth $ 1.2 million.

traffic cost

If I had to buy all of that traffic, it would cost me $ 1.2 million a month in pay per click fees.

That’s crazy considering that traffic generated me $ 408,000 in revenue last month (not profit… revenue).

And if you go back a year ago, I had 340,268 visitors a month from Google and that traffic generated $ 362,495 last year.

In other words, I grew my search traffic by 123% while my revenue only grew by 12.5%… not a good deal.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have to spend $ 1.2 million to generate that traffic but there are costs involved as SEO takes time and resources.

Now, let’s look at my buddy’s site, Legion Athletics.

He’s in the B2C world and is selling fitness supplements. His traffic is only up 3% from last year.

traffic growth

But his revenue has grown by 44% because he is focusing on traffic that is causing sales. In other words, he no longer cares to increase his total traffic, he only cares to increase the traffic that is generating sales.

Neil, you must have known better!

Why yes, I did know that growing my search traffic by double, triple or even 10x wouldn’t grow my revenue at the same pace.

I’ve been doing SEO for over 16 years now… it took me a while to learn this, but not that long. 😉

See, with my business, my ideal customer is a large corporation who already has been doing marketing for many years.

That doesn’t mean I can’t help and won’t help small businesses… I just prefer the larger ones because they have much bigger budgets.

For me to continually grow my traffic at a rapid pace I have to go after newbie terms, such as how to get indexed in Google. But traffic from those kinds of posts won’t convert visitors into customers.

These newbie terms make up over 81% of my search traffic, but I go after them because I believe in branding and the long play (the rule of 7, which I’ll go into later in this post).

And I have multiple business units/revenue streams, so I am willing to spend capital to generate brand awareness that may pay off 5 or 10 years from now.

But, I never taught you how to think about SEO from a strategy standpoint because it’s much more complex than just ranking for highly sought after key terms.

Why doesn’t more traffic equal more sales?

To rank really well on Google, you have to write long-form, informational articles. It’s why Wikipedia ranks for everything.


This doesn’t mean you can’t rank product pages (ecommerce) or lead generation pages high up in Google, it’s just harder. Much, much harder.

Now let’s do a quick Google search. Let’s search for the term, “auto insurance.”

According to Ubersuggest, the keyword gets 201,000 searches a month in the United States and companies pay $ 63.15 per click when it comes to PPC ads.

Here’s a screenshot of the Google search results page that I see, searching from Las Vegas, Nevada.

google search

And here’s what the first paid ad from AAA looks like:

AAA insurance

And here’s what the top organic listing from Nationwide looks like:


Do you see why the AAA version would generate more sales?

Their landing page is simple and clear. You just choose the insurance option and you are off to the races.

But obviously, that page would never rank organically because there is little to no text. Seriously, there is nothing on it… they are barely giving Google any information.

The average web page that ranks on page 1 of Google contains 1,890 words. From what I counted, the AAA landing page has 73 words. It’s a bit far off from the 1,890 number. 

content length

And the Nationwide example has so much text on the other hand.

So much so, Nationwide will still generate sales, but nowhere near the percentage of that AAA PPC landing page.

Does this mean you shouldn’t do SEO?

I’m not saying that SEO is useless.

I am just saying that it won’t ever convert as well as paid advertising because you have to please the user and Google when it comes to SEO. That means your pages will be text heavy and won’t focus as much on closing the sale.

I know they say SEO traffic has more trust, so it converts better… but you have to keep in mind that an SEO landing page can’t be optimized for conversions as aggressively as a paid landing page.

Hence Google makes over $ 100 billion a year (mainly from paid ads).

Sure, the text on your SEO landing page or blog post could be persuasive and salesy, but if it was purely salesy you wouldn’t rank high on Google organically.

So, if I had to teach you SEO again from the beginning, I would take a different approach.

I wouldn’t tell you to do paid advertising or to ignore SEO. And I wouldn’t teach you any tactics at first.

Instead, I would teach you marketing strategy at the beginning, which would lead you to a more successful SEO campaign.

I would tell you to first set up your conversion tracking in Google Analytics.

Once you have your goals set up, I would have you log into your Google Analytics, click on your site, in the left sidebar click on “Conversions > Goals > Overview.” There you can then see where your conversions are coming from.

tim sykes conversions

By knowing where your sales are coming from, you can focus on marketing efforts that are working and stop the ones that aren’t.

Then I would teach you how to go one step further by finding out the exact pages that are driving you new search visitors that are converting into sales. (If you aren’t sure how to do that, follow this tutorial.)

Now that you know what pages are driving your sales, you should then focus all of your SEO efforts on first optimizing those pages. I know this won’t get you the most traffic, but it will bring you the highest amount of sales.

And you don’t have to implement 100 different SEO tweaks to optimize the pages that are driving your sales.

Start off by following this one SEO hack that I describe in the video below. (It will provide a nice boost and it’s easy to implement.)

And once you implement my Google Search Console tactic, I would then have you work on more advanced SEO techniques.


The chances are you are like me and have made the mistakes above.

I know this because you are reading this blog, and I’ve spent the majority of my time blogging on tactics instead of teaching you strategy.

SEOs are brainwashed from day one… they are taught that higher rankings and traffic are the most important things.

In reality, more revenue is what’s really important… that’s why PPC experts have the correct mindset. They optimize for revenue, sales, leads, and ROI instead of pure traffic.

At my agency, our VP of Marketing Services, Todd, keeps telling the team we need to focus on ROI.

Even though our team averages more than 100% increase in search traffic within the first 6 months, Todd cares more about revenue. If you can’t provide an ROI in the long run, it doesn’t matter how high you rank a site. Period!

Now, if your traffic keeps growing, but your revenue isn’t, all hope isn’t lost. You’ll have to be a bit more aggressive with your marketing, especially when it comes to conversion optimization.

Just follow the steps below:

Step #1: Install Hello Bar

If you look at the site you’ll notice that I have an exit popup.

exit popup

It’s not because I like popups and think they provide an amazing user experience. I just know that when people read your blog posts the chances are, they won’t convert into customers (at least not right away).

By collecting their email upon exit you can then convert those visitors over time into customers by dripping them offers and directing them to your product or services pages. (Hello Bar has GDPR compliant settings.)

The key to conversion optimization is to find a balance. Make sure you are providing value so that the conversion techniques you are using won’t irritate people.

Step #2: Remarket

Have you heard of the rule of 7? I follow it religiously.

Someone needs to see your brand 7 times on average before they convert into a customer. It gives them time to familiarize themselves with your company and for you to earn their trust before they are willing to open up their wallet.

By using Google and Facebook remarketing, I’ve found that I can generate double the amount of leads for my sales team and spend 1/26th of the money compared to just buying the traffic using traditional pay per click campaigns.

It’s a strategy Digital Marketer uses heavily because it works so well.

They don’t have as much organic traffic as I do, so they buy Facebook ads to their blog posts, which helps people familiarize themselves with the Digital Marketer brand.

They then remarket all of those users using ads again by driving them to sales pages. It works really well.

Step #3: Be creative

Look at how many call to actions I have on the site.

No matter what blog post you are reading, you’ll see a top bar that looks like this:

top bar

I have it because it helps convert visitors into customers.

And look at how many sidebar call to actions I have.

ad neil patel

ad neil patel

ad neil patel

It looks crazy because I have 3 within my sidebar, but it works.

I used to even have call to actions and content upgrades within my blog posts… it worked well, but I started to ruin the user experience so I got rid of them to create a healthy balance on the blog.

If I had to start all over again, and I didn’t have much organic traffic, I would set up Google Analytics correctly as described above. Then I would do a bit of content marketing, social media marketing, paid ads, and SEO.

Think of it as one big experiment. You are testing the waters by doing a little bit of everything… not spending a ton of cash. Instead, you are trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

From there you can see what drives sales to get a better overall idea of the pages you need to focus on to generate more sales.

Once you see things working, I would then scale everything out as long as I was generating a reasonable return on my investment.

And for those of you who love to track your rankings, keep in mind that I don’t track my rankings on one bit.

Yes, I do look at my traffic growth over time as it gives me a good idea as to which of the changes I am making are working, but I don’t track rankings as I believe it is a waste of time. I focus on conversions and revenue.

Out of curiosity, how many of you focus on optimizing the right pages versus just going after more search traffic?

The post Everything I Taught You About SEO Was Wrong appeared first on Neil Patel.

Blog – Neil Patel

7 Business Benefits of Engaging a Keynote Speaker

Think keynote speaker and you envision a charismatic, motivational speaker who is the center of attention at conferences and leads with riveting ideas about entrepreneurship and how to make a success of your business, career, and personal life.

If you could invite this professional to come in and speak to your employees at a prestigious company event, wouldn’t that be great? He could inspire and motivate your workers, and educate them on the ethos of your company, its mission and objectives. In short you could hire a keynote speaker who is also trained in business strategy and can make your people understand the importance of what they do.

Does Your Business Really Need Professional Help?

It does if you take a close look at these statistics cited in an article on the Forbes magazine. Studies show that at least 60% to 70% of employees are not engaged enough in their jobs or are disinterested in the tasks assigned to them. Gallup data also reveals that inefficiency and low productivity levels cost the U.S. losses amounting to $ 450 billion.

Still wondering if you need a professional to motivate and engage your workforce?

7 Key Business Benefits of Hiring the Perfect Keynote Speaker

1. Add Credibility to Your Company

A keynote speaker like Arman Sadeghi who has the relevant expertise will not only resonate well with your audience, but also credibility to your event. A top expert in his field will make your event more worthwhile for attendees and seem more important for all stakeholders. The added credibility may enhance chances of third parties boosting your reach.

For instance, news agencies may report on your event. Celebrities may mention and even attend, while collaborators and financiers may increase their support. You see all of this happening when Arman delivered his keynote speech at a conference attended by the U.S. Marine Corps.

2. Boost Registration Numbers

Keynote speakers are by definition engaging individuals and authorities in their field. They generally command a following of dedicated fans. The right leadership motivational speakers can mobilize this fan base to greatly boost the number of attendees at your event. With the explosive combined power of diverse social media platforms, your event can be sold out well in advance. In addition to your own employees, you will have prospective customers and vendors looking to book a seat to hear your keynote speaker talk about why working with your company is a great idea.

3. Provide Your Workers with a Fresh Perspective

C-suite managers and heads of departments are sometimes called upon to deliver the keynote speech. Company owners from Glerups Slippers or Google reason that they’re a good choice because they are familiar with their audience and the company’s needs. However, what you need is a professional who can not only provide a fresh perspective, but also a new face.

Often times, workers associate a particular manager or supervisor with the roles he plays in the company on a daily basis. And, getting them to see the same person in the new light of an expert is just impossible. Familiarity breeds contempt and they may not see him as a credible source of information.

4. Inspire Your Team

Should you read this article on Fast Company, you will learn that workers need to know that the work they’re doing is a means to a goal. They need to know that their efforts mean something and they ARE making a difference. The keynote speaker will impress on your employees about the mission of the company and how every task they complete helps accomplish that mission. He will also let them know that the management is appreciative of their dedication and commitment to the company.

5. Build a Community out of Different Departments

Most businesses have various departments and teams working on different levels. At times, this results in disconnected messages and concepts coming across to employees and clients. A keynote speaker can work to tie in all these dissonant messages into a coherent concept. This works to fire up your audience, drive them in a particular unified direction, and to solidify your brand identity. In place of individual departments and workers focusing on their tasks, you’ll develop a community of people with each being well aware of how they fit into the big picture.

6. Promote Sales, Upsells, and Cross Sells

The main agenda for any business is to help their clients fulfill their needs. This usually happens by providing valuable products at competitive prices. If it’s part of the event objectives, a keynote speaker can help drive sales of the company’s products, upsell customers to higher value products, and cross sell complementary products. This can increase profit margins and result in viral word of mouth marketing well beyond the event day/venue. Generate widespread interest in your company and its products by having a notable expert talk about them.

7. Break the Monotony of Set Routines

Read this research paper written by Richard Thackray for Psychosomatic Medicine and you will learn that nothing is more stressful and detrimental to employee productivity than monotony and boredom. A good keynote speaker can also act as a motivational speaker encouraging workers to think about and develop new ideas to perform better at their jobs. Employees can also be encouraged to initiate discussions about new product ideas and how to provide better customer care. Remember, a motivated employee is also a loyal employee and will strive for the success of your business.

Maximize Your Business Results with a Corporate Keynote Speaker

These 7 key benefits can grow your business if you engage a corporate keynote speaker.  You need someone who’s comfortable with your kind of crowd and knows his subject content.  Choose an experienced professional who delivers that content in an engaging manner. A results-driven keynote speaker will direct the event’s agenda towards achieving the event’s main objectives. Remember to set out all your goals in the contract and align it with the speaker’s service-level agreement.

The post 7 Business Benefits of Engaging a Keynote Speaker appeared first on Social Media Explorer.

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