Instagram tests questions in Stories

Instagram has been incredibly busy of late, announcing IGTV, Instagram Lite and a slate of features including Stories Soundtracks. But the Facebook-owned photo-sharing service doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

Android Police today noted that Instagram is testing a feature that would allow users to post questions to their followers and receive answers.

Instagram already offers the ability to publish polls to followers with multiple-choice options for answering. But this test seems to point toward the option to offer lengthier responses to users’ questions.

One user in Indonesia sent to Android Police a screencap of the feature(pictured above), and a user in Spain also spotted the feature. That said, we still have very little information on just how this might work.

Right now, when a user posts to their Story, their followers can respond via DM. With more open-ended questions and responses, it’s unclear if responses will still come in via DM or be bundled together as part of the story.

The latter seems more in keeping with Instagram’s push to make Stories as interactive as possible. The open-ended question could serve as a jumping off point for a collaborative story comprised of everyone’s responses.

That said, this feature hasn’t been confirmed by Instagram, though we’ve reached out and will update the post when we learn more.

Social – TechCrunch

Top 10 Facebook Video Marketing Questions

I recently teamed up with my good friends at to present what we’ve found are the top ten Facebook video marketing questions, along with my answers. Check out the Facebook Live and companion slide deck – both embedded below. I’ve also included all ten questions and brief answers below… is an incredibly easy to use online video maker for creating marketing and social videos in minutes. You can create multiple video formats simultaneously (square, landscape, portrait, Story, Facebook cover and more). includes access to over 200 million premium assets. Mari’s friends can SAVE 30% on any annual plan. Just use code: WXA_30SMITH. Want this info via Messenger? Go to and send me the word ‘wave’ 🙂

First, some informative Facebook video facts and stats:

  • Facebook generates 8 billion video views on average per day. Source: Facebook via Techcrunch (Mark Zuckerberg shared that stat on an earnings call back in 2015; the number may be much higher now?!)
  • A recent eye-tracking study (by Facebook) shows people gaze FIVE times longer at video than static content on Facebook and Instagram. Source: Facebook IQ
  • 85 percent of Facebook video is watched with sound off. Source: Digiday
  • By 2019, global consumer Internet video traffic will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic. Source: SmallBizTrends
  • 90% of users say that product videos are helpful in the decision process. Source: HubSpot
  • Including a video on a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%. Source: Unbounce
  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and image combined. Source: Brightcove
  • The top three most effective types of video content: Customer testimonials, Tutorial videos, Demonstration videos. Source: Curata
  • 43% of marketers said they’d create more video content if there were no obstacles like time, resources, and budget. Source: Buffer
  • Facebook identified five factors related to the rise of online video viewing: smartphones, shorter attention spans, binge-watching, importance of context and the thrill of novelty. Source: Facebook IQ

Watch the Top Ten Facebook Live training here:

Access the companion slide deck here:

Top 10 Facebook Video Marketing Questions

#1 How long should my video be?

  • Live: 5 minutes to 4 hours! Aim for 18-22 minutes
  • VOD (video on demand/recorded video): <60 seconds for including on Instagram. Otherwise, test from 1-5 minutes or more.
  • Ads / Promoted posts / Dark posts: it depends! Test.
  • Ad breaks: 5-15 seconds

#2 Which video format is best?

  • Ads and VOD: Try square, vertical, portrait
  • Ad breaks: vertical, square, landscape
  • Stories: 9:16
  • See Facebook and Instagram video specs here

#3 How do I add text overlay?

  • VOD: Try! This is such an easy way to add text overlay. And, you can choose your font, color, branding, logo, and watermark.
  • Live: Create custom graphics as a transparent PNG 1280 x 720

#4 How do I get my show on Watch?

#5 Where can I get the best assets?

  • has the largest premium stock library in the Universe with a whopping 200 million royalty-free videos, photos, images, graphics, music to add to your videos

#6 How do I make Story videos?

  • Story videos are always 9:16 format and 1-15 videos
  • Use Story videos on Facebook and/or Instagram as part of your content marketing plan
  • You can now place Story ads on Instagram
  • allows you to create multiple formats simultaneously at the press of a button. Story format 9:16 is one of the many choices!


#7 How do I add captions?

  • Use Facebook’s own captions generator tool (which has vastly improved lately!)
  • For best accuracy, use a transcription service like
  • Or, for a super affordable AI transcription service, try

#8 What does mobile optimize mean?

  • Formats that work best on mobile devices
  • Square video
  • Vertical (4:5 or 2:3)
  • Story / Portrait (9:16)

#8 What is a video view?

  • On Facebook, it is at least 3 seconds

#9 Where are my video metrics?

  • Go to your Page Insights
  • Or, on any video on your Page, click the clickable stat to the left of the Boost button. It will say something like, People have watched this video for a total of 22.5k minutes. Or, Your video is popular in California.

#10 How do I create Video Engagement Custom Audiences?

  • Go to Ads Manager
  • Under Audiences, select Create New Audience > Custom Audience > Engagement > Video.
  • Once you’ve chosen the length of video views, you can select one or multiple videos to build the audience.
  • Use this engaged audience to retarget with different content.


Need help improving your Facebook marketing results? Come check out my FAST Facebook Results training program – next live training is on May 10th, 2018. Go here, or message me the word ‘fast.’

Fast Facebook Results with Mari Smith

The post Top 10 Facebook Video Marketing Questions appeared first on

Mari Smith – Social Media Marketing Success

Two Questions that Lay the Foundation for Effective Cross-Channel Marketing

Cross-channel marketing has moved beyond the hype to become a reality for marketers. In fact, it’s the new normal. Why? Our online behaviors have evolved – consumers are constantly checking emails, social media apps, and even interacting online via voice technology. To reach them effectively, a marketer must have the message in the right place at the right time.

However, setting up cross-channel marketing isn’t easy – especially when defining what the marketing strategy will be. If marketers aren’t prepared, or poorly set up as a team, budget and time will simply be wasted with no positive impact on the revenue or customer satisfaction.

To ensure this doesn’t happen, there are two fundamental questions marketers need to ask themselves. If they cannot answer these successfully, all the other processes or changes they put in place simply won’t be effective and cross-channel marketing won’t happen.

1. Has Your Marketing Team Shifted its Mindset?

Historically, when marketers need to launch a campaign or communicate with their customers, they look at each channel separately and consider how, when, and what content to use. This mindset needs to shift entirely. Marketers need to consider the entire buyer journey and how channels ought to work together to create a consistent experience. Only then will they be able to design campaigns that will capture attention.

2. Are You Clear on Your Entire Multichannel Marketing Approach?

Marketers need to be 100 percent clear on every stage of the cross-channel approach to ensure it will work effectively. So, take a step back and interrogate the plan. Does your team all agree on how to define cross-channel marketing? Does your team all agree on where it starts? How many channels are included and how will your cross-channel marketing efforts be measured?  

Once marketers can answer these questions and have entire team singing from the same hymn sheet, they will be ready to tackle the barriers to cross-channel marketing.

First and foremost, this involves breaking down silos. This is one of the biggest challenges for any brand. Different teams are responsible for social media, ecommerce, contact centers, etc. and usually, each team has a different focus, a different way of collecting and analyzing data, and different processes to reach desired outcomes.

The other biggest barrier to being able to achieve a single view of the customer is technology limitations. Stories abound of external providers who don’t understand their client’s business model and data, or take on a technology implementation project that’s either too big or not big enough.

Regardless of the hurdles to overcome, cross-channel marketing is happening and the choice marketers have is how effective their brand can be in achieving it. Only with buy-in from the entire team do marketers have the strong foundation they need to ensure customers are engaged, building loyalty and generating revenue.

Oracle Blogs | Oracle Marketing Cloud

Influencer Marketing Ain’t Easy: 5 Client Questions to Answer Before They Ask

The client conversation around influencer marketing is changing. When agencies first began pitching influencers as part of a brand’s social strategy, they spent a lot of time answering “what?” and “why?” But as a recent study by Tomoson Research shows, influencer marketing is now “the fastest-growing online customer-acquisition channel—beating organic search, paid search and email marketing.” Not to mention, nearly 60% of marketers plan to increase their ad budgets to accommodate influencer marketing efforts in the year ahead.

With proof points like these, influencers are no longer a tough sell to clients:

  • 92% of consumers are more likely to trust their peers over advertising when it comes to purchasing decisions.
  • On average, businesses are making $ 6.50 for every $ 1 spent.
  • Influencer marketing has 11 times the ROI of a banner advertising campaign.
  • Marketing-inspired word-of-mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.

While it’s easy to get swept up in the numbers, there’s still much to learn about what makes a successful influencer program. And while agencies may not have to spend as much time answering “why?”—there’s still the very important question of “how do we do it right?”

Here are five of the most common questions about influencers and the answers an agency needs in order to demonstrate expertise in the space and gain buy-in from clients.

1. What Is the Goal of the Program?

Make no mistake, this is the single most important question to consider when developing (and eventually pitching) an influencer program. Before even thinking about who the influencers will be or what they will create, marketers must identify specific, measurable goals. Should the program increase awareness? Generate new followers? Drive sales?

According to a recent survey evaluating the current state of influencer marketing:

  • 89% of marketers used influencers to create authentic content for their brand
  • 77% used them to drive engagement
  • 56% used them to drive traffic to their websites or landing pages

It should go without saying that the goal of the program should also align with the project brief. A successful influencer program is useless if its outcome does not address the ask of the client.

2. How Will We Measure Success?

For 2017, 78% of marketers have cited measuring the ROI of influencer marketing as a top challenge, making it important for agencies to identify which metrics they’ll monitor to measure the program’s success. Meanwhile, 81% of marketers cite engagement as their top metric for measuring influencer marketing success, meaning how many likes, shares and comments the various pieces of content received.

Marketers may also consider tracking traffic and conversions, especially if the program’s goal is an increase in sales. Using trackable links, promo codes and monitoring correlation are just a few ways an agency can propose tracking these markers.

3. Who Are the Right Influencers?

Marketers, repeat after us: fit over followers. One of the biggest mistakes we see marketers make when choosing potential influencers is focusing too much on the number of followers. What good is a million followers if they’re not the right audience for the brand? The personality, values and previous content of potential influencers have to be a good fit for the brand or the program will fail. And it may take a little research to find that information out.

When pitching potential influencers to clients, it’s helpful to include example posts that both demonstrate their fit with the brand and showcase the quality of their content. And even though it’s not the reason they were chosen, it may be smart to include their potential reach as well to strengthen the business case.

4. What Will They Create?

Once an agency has identified the influencer or influencers for the program, it’s time to decide what type of content they’ll create. Knowing the specific ask will help align client, agency and influencer expectations and will make reaching out to the influencer a much smoother process. It’s also easier to quote rates when the influencers have an idea about how much time and effort is expected of them.

Agencies should take into account the program goal, their desired measurement, as well as the influencers’ own content when deciding what to ask for. For example, don’t ask for a blog post if the influencer’s strength is photography.

Marketers also have to consider FTC regulations, which require influencers to disclose when content is part of a paid partnership. There are various ways to do this, but most often we see posts labeled with an #ad or #spon hashtag. It’s imperative that the branded content be just as compelling and entertaining as the rest of the influencer’s content—or else it will stick out like a sore thumb and the influencer’s audience won’t trust it.

5. Should We Pay Them?

To gift, or to pay: that is one of the most common client questions. And in order to answer it correctly, marketers must consider the pros and cons of both gifting and paying an influencer. The biggest pro of gifting is obvious—free marketing. But cons can include no guarantee of quality or positive sentiment, no control over the message and no ownership over the content that’s created. It also may be more difficult to find an influencer with good reach if they believe their value is worth more than just a free sample.

When you offer payment, those influencers with a strong, solid audience are more likely to be on board. Plus it gives marketers more creative, and legal, ownership of the content. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t matter whether an agency gifts or pays an influencer, a paid partnership must be disclosed to abide by FTC regulations.

Influencer rates vary and can depend on his or her follower count. According to a study done by on Instagram influencer payment, the overall average cost per Instagram post was $ 271; an influencer with fewer than 1,000 followers (also called a micro-influencer) was $ 83 per post; and the average price for influencers with more than 100,000 followers was $ 763 per post.

When offering compensation to an influencer, agencies need to take into account the type of content they’re requesting, the influencer’s follower count, the project’s budget and FTC regulations.

Influencers aren’t just successful in attracting new business for brands; they also recruit more loyal customers. In fact, found that customers acquired through influencer marketing have a 37% higher retention rate. But without the right strategy in place, poorly planned influencer marketing can backfire—and both brands and influencers can run the risk of damaging their respective reputations, or even running into legal trouble. Agencies who take the time to ask and answer the right questions will not only gain the trust and confidence of their clients, but it will also set their influencer program up for success from the outset.

This post Influencer Marketing Ain’t Easy: 5 Client Questions to Answer Before They Ask originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Sprout Social

I Answer Your Questions About the State of Digital Transformation


Where are companies at in their digital transformation efforts?

This was the question I set out to answer in, “The 2014 State of Digital Transformation” report.  After two years, it was time to check-in on the digital transformation landscape again to learn how companies are changing, what challenges they’re facing now and what opportunities they’ve uncovered.

Recently, I hosted a webcast on behalf of Altimeter and Prophet to share the findings from the latest “State of Digital Transformation” report. Over the span of one hour, we reviewed the latest facts and figures on the top drivers and challenges, who owns digital transformation and why, what it is and also what it isn’t, and also the best practices of companies undergoing digital transformation.

At the end of the presentation, the number of questions that flew in were too great to address in the live airing. My host for the day, Lindsay Malone, had the great idea to schedule a follow up Q&A to address the remaining questions. I wanted to also share the result here with you.

Who is typically leading digital transformation at organizations?

According to our survey, digital transformation is largely led by the CMO (34%). Not far behind, though, is a digitally savvy generation of CEOs who, at 27%, recognize that it’s time to lead their companies into the 21st century (see page 11). This is a number that we expect to grow in the coming years.

How can I better understand how to measure/assess customers’ satisfaction along the customer journey?

When companies measure satisfaction they often use an array of existing metric systems (NPS to CSAT) or other homegrown KPIs to capture moments or transactions; but, these can’t gauge the overall customer experience.

If we consider CX to be the sum of all parts during a customer’s journey, then someone (a governing body) must be able to assess individual touchpoints and determine how those touchpoints add up collectively to whichever standard we are agreeing to measure. There are new types of metrics that can be introduced, but it starts with deciding what that benchmark standard should be. Shared experience value, happiness, and connectedness are metrics that matter and you’ll need a mechanism to capture how you measure on the standard for which you’re setting out to deliver. It’s a time for innovation on this front.

I find that many companies are still mired in old compensation models based on KPIs that don’t take digital efforts into account. Did you find that successful companies had changed compensation models as well?

There are a variety of interesting experiments in this regard, indeed, most operational elements are dated. This includes everything from process to measurement to reward and everything in between. Companies that are pushing innovation in this area are beginning to experiment with alternative management models which ask employees to work together toward different standards for innovating the processes they manage – this is changing review and reward mechanisms as a result.

For example, management is held accountable for bringing forward and implementing new ideas. Employees are responsible for discovering or considering new opportunities. This goes all the way up to the C-suite as a means of changing what a company values and how people work toward those desired outcomes.

Do you also experience that ‘innovation’ is ambiguous?

Most companies believe they are innovative simply because they are doing things they weren’t doing before or investing in new technology and bringing in new expertise to implement and manage it. But, my research shows that most companies are actually investing in iteration vs. innovation, and the differences between them are huge. I define iteration as doing the same things better. Innovation is doing new things that unlocks new value for your customers. Only one of those can lead to disruption, which is doing new things over time that make the old things obsolete.

What approach would you suggest for companies looking to create a digital customer experience strategy?

If you have a moment, please read a report on this subject I published earlier in 2016, “How Businesses are Taking the OPPOSITE Approach to Digital Transformation.” In this report, I provide eight  best practices that are guiding today’s successful organizations through their digital transformation efforts.

With over 3,000 solutions, the marketing technology landscape is a real nightmare. How do you navigate to find your way to the digital content management and distribution solutions?

Companies need to figure out their key objectives before trying to figure out the tools they need to support them. There are two resources I recommend checking out. My Altimeter colleague, Omar Akhtar published a report this year “Choosing the Tools for a Unified Content Strategy” which will help you navigate the intimidating landscape of content tools by creating clarity around your strategy, identifying gaps and requirements in your content operations, and providing a framework for rating tools that make the final cut.

Also, please read an article I wrote with LinkedIn, “Attention is a Currency.” In the article we reveal that only 20% of companies are aligning content to the customer journey. People don’t want to just see content; they want content that will take them to the next step. This report helps you to see content differently: 63% of consumers that they may deflect brands due to irrelevant content, 41% say they would consider ending the relationship with a brand because of irrelevant content, 22% said they already have.

Can you give an example of a company that has completed a digital transformation and provide an example of how it has tangibly improved its business?

The 2014 State of Digital Transformation report offers many examples of companies who have successfully executed digital transformation to drive business impact.

How is digital transformation realized in big companies (more than 5000 employees)?

The Six Stages of Digital Transformation report is a great resource for you to review for more information about this. This report shares the six phases that serve as a digital maturity blueprint to guide purposeful and advantageous digital transformation.

Have you seen any effective reverse mentoring programs designed to bridge the gap?

I’ve seen many interesting programs on this front, and have witnessed first-hand GE’s reverse mentoring program. There are many articles written about it – I suggest this would be a great place to start.

Please listen to the recording if you have a moment.

Also, if you have more questions about digital transformation, send your questions via Twitter to: Altimeter (@AltimeterGroup) or Lindsay Malone (@LZOMalone). If you’re interested in learning how Altimeter can help you with your digital transformation initiatives, reach out here.


Please read X, The Experience When Business Meets Design or visit my previous publications

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
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Snapchat: BrianSolis

Invite him to speak at your next event or meeting. 

The post I Answer Your Questions About the State of Digital Transformation appeared first on Brian Solis.

Brian Solis

10 Questions to Ask Yourself When Your Conversion Rates Are Below Average

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Check and maintain your conversion rates often, just like you would your car. Image via Shutterstock.

A major faux pas I often see with conversion rates is that businesses only seem to to address them when alarms are triggered.

Conversion rates require ongoing maintenance and should be regular focal points in your optimization and marketing efforts. Like a vehicle engine, they should be checked and maintained regularly.

When conversion rates aren’t what you had expected, it’s not uncommon for marketers and business owners to start making knee-jerk tweaks to on-page elements, hoping to lift conversions through A/B testing. While there may be some benefit to tweaking the size of buttons and adjusting landing page headlines and CTAs, there’s a great deal more to conversion optimization.

You must take a scientific approach that includes qualitative and quantitative data, rather than an à la carte strategy of piecing together what you think might be most effective.

Before making any changes to your landing pages, ask yourself these 10 critical questions:

1. Is there an audience/market fit for the product?

Analyzing the market for your product is something you do in the early stages of product development before launching. It’s part of gathering initial research on your audience and what they want or need. When you experience conversion problems, you may want to revisit this.

Use keyword tools, and platforms like Google Trends to discover the volume of interest in your particular product. If the traffic shows a steady or growing interest, then how well does the product in its current form align with the needs of the people searching for it?

Revisit your audience research and review the needs and problems of your customer. Make sure your product addresses those needs and provides a solution. Then look to how you position the product to ensure customers can see the value.

2. How accurate is your audience-targeting strategy?

There’s nothing quite as frustrating as watching hundreds of people visit your product or landing pages, only to be left with empty carts and no opt-ins.


It’s not easy to figure out what’s holding them back, but one of the first questions you should ask is whether you’re targeting the right people.

You may very well have a great product for the market, but if you’re presenting it to the wrong audience then you’ll never generate significant interest. This holds true for major, established brands as much as new startups.

Don’t start A/B testing without reading this ebook!

Learn how to build, test and optimize your landing pages with The Ultimate Guide to Landing Page Optimization.
By entering your email you’ll receive weekly Unbounce Blog updates and other resources to help you become a marketing genius.

3. Has trust been established?

Asking people to hand over personal and financial information on the web requires a huge leap of faith. You need to establish trust before asking them to add a product to their carts and complete the checkout process or even to give you their email address.

One study from Taylor Nelson Sofres showed that consumers might terminate as many as 70% of online purchases due to a lack of trust. People may really want what you’re selling, but if they don’t trust you, then they’ll never convert.

There are several ways to establish and grow trust, which include:

Testimonials, notable recognitions and brand affiliations help to build trust among prospective customers. Image via

4. Do customers understand the benefits and value?

For customers, everything comes down to value, which is the foundation of your unique selling positions (USP.) You can’t just convince someone to buy something through conversion tricks like big buttons and snappy graphics. If they don’t understand the product’s value or how it might benefit them, then they have no reason to buy.

You have to communicate the value of your products accurately and succinctly, breaking down what you’re selling to the most basic level so your customer sees the benefits, rather than just the features.

Here’s a great example that I took from Unbounce:


This landing page put a big the value proposition right up front, mixing in high-impact benefit statements that help seat the value with the audience.

5. What is the purchase experience really like?

It’s important to understand the journey your customer has to follow in order to reach the point where they’re willing to convert. While your landing pages or ecommerce site might look clean, the next step toward a conversion could make the whole thing come crashing down.

Providing top-notch user experiences across all devices is imperative, which includes minimizing the number of clicks necessary to complete the transaction.

Complicated site navigation and checkout processes are among the top causes of cart abandonment. Test your conversion paths internally, and consider trying out a service like to get unbiased consumer feedback on your UX.

6. Where are the leaks in the funnel?

Figuring out where people exit your site can be a good indicator of why people leave —– at the very least, it can help you narrow down where to start your investigation. Working backwards from the exit point can uncover friction points you didn’t even know existed.

Open your analytics and monitor the visitor flow. Pay close attention to where traffic enters, the number of steps users have to take while navigating from page to page, and trace the point where they typically exit.

Chart your own journey through your website while examining the on-page elements and user experience. Be sure to compare visitor behavior with your funnel visualization to determine when a leak is actually a leak.

7. What are the biggest friction points?

Friction in your sales funnel can be defined as anything that gets in the way of a conversion, either by slowing it down or stopping it completely. Some friction points might include:

  • Slow load times
  • Too many form fields
  • Too many clicks to complete an action
  • Hidden or missing information (like withholding shipping or contact information)
  • Poorly written copy and readability issues
  • Stop words
  • Garish design

(For additional insights into possible friction points in your own funnel, this article from Jeremy Smith, posted on Kissmetrics is a wealth of knowledge.)

You can reduce friction on your own site by taking small steps and testing them to see how they alter your conversion rates. Ask as few questions as possible, avoid overwhelming the customer with too many options, aim for clean and pleasing designs and hire a pro copywriter to make a stronger connection through words.

One of the simplest examples of improvement through the removal of friction comes from Expedia.

One seemingly insignificant change can have a dramatic impact on conversion. Image source.

By removing the “company name” field — just a single field on the submission form — Expedia made it easier for people to complete the form. That reduction in friction led to a $ 12 million increase in profit.

Given the size of Expedia and the volume of traffic they see, you could expect to see a lift like this through A/B testing. Changes don’t always being about such dramatic results, but you’ll never know the potential unless you start testing to remove those friction points in your funnel.

8. How do my customers feel about the process?

When you have concerns about your conversion rates, often the best place to turn for insights are the consumers.

Use feedback tools like a consumer survey to reach out to current customers, as well as those who abandoned their carts midway through the shopping experience. Ask them to provide information on why they made a purchase, why they chose not to, difficulties they experienced while on your site, feedback on design, etc.

This approach not only provides quality insight into what could be the likely cause of poor conversions, but also shows customers (and potential customers) that you’re making an effort to improve your site based on their feedback.

9. What does the data say?

Whenever possible, you want to make changes based on the data you’ve accumulated. Don’t focus solely on the conversion metrics of your website; analyze the data from your social ads and insights, visitor flow, bounce rates, time spent on page and more. Let the data drive your actions; otherwise you’re just firing wildly into the dark and hoping to hit your target.

Whether we’re talking about the ROI for content marketing or boosting ecommerce sales, data always matters. When you make changes, measure the new data and monitor those changes against the original. It’s the only way to know if you’re headed in the right direction.

10. How are my competitors selling this?

While I always warn people not to follow their competitors, you should still be aware of what they’re doing to leverage competitive insights garnered from their market research.

If your conversions are plummeting for specific products or services, look to the competition. How are they positioning their products? What are they doing differently to hook and engage the target audience? Draw comparisons and see how they align with the insights you’ve gleaned from your data to determine which elements you should test and improve upon.

Over to you for the questions

Now it’s time to look at your funnel and start asking the tough questions:

  • Do you need to re-verify product/market fit?
  • How accurate is your audience targeting?
  • Does your audience trust you?
  • Do your customers understand the benefits and value?
  • What’s the purchase experience like for the customer?
  • Where are the leaks in the funnel?
  • Are there major friction points killing conversions?
  • What feedback can customers offer about the process?
  • What does your data say about the conversion process?
  • What are your competitors doing right?

Remember to pay close attention to the numbers and make your changes based on data — not assumptions.


5 Questions Defining the State and Future of Digital Transformation



I recently presented at event in San Diego. My goal in doing so was to help attendees reframe the problems they were trying to solve and introduce new opportunities that would help them go back to work and contribute to meaningful change.

I remember it being a beautiful day. The crowd was electric and more than open to new ideas. When I was done presenting, I playfully threw out that I would be outside on the patio (overlooking the San Diego Harbor) if anyone had any questions. To my surprise, there was a group of 25-30 or so people who followed. We continued the conversation outside and everyone seemed engaged with many staying until the last question.

Hannah Kovacs with Postbeyond was in attendance. After the event, she asked if we could talk about digital transformation, my latest research and the importance of the human element in change. My answer was, “of course!”  It was a line in her bio that also added that extra layer of convincing, “obsessed with critical thinking and challenging the status quo.”

I wanted to share the interview the result of the interview with you here…I hope it helps you.

Hannah Kovacs: Why is it necessary for enterprises to design their customer experience? How has this changed in the last 10 years?

There’s this idea that companies need to change because the times are changing.

But then there are those innovative companies who want to be be more beloved by a new generation of customers. Understanding what it takes to be successful in that regard means that you need to understand how people (your customers) are different than you previously thought. But also, it’s taking those insights and applying them to the infrastructure of your organization so that you can work differently and compete differently.

When you invest in technology and expertise for reasons other than being competitive, it shifts the perception and definition of success. This shift in perspective shifts even to what it means to “work.” It gives way for a new culture that’s entirely human-centered. And yet, there are so many companies who fail to see that opportunity.

HK: On that note, what would you identify as the biggest obstacle to enterprises who maybe want to go through a digital transformation, but are getting stuck?

One of the biggest obstacles is the sheer operational structure of organizations. They’re built on management infrastructures, which by nature are designed to support and reinforce existing paradigms. Within those management structures, you have a very human system of governance, which includes politics, ego. These qualities define the company (which usually tends to be risk-averse). Everything that you reward, everything that you refuse to accept – that’s the culture.

But there are individuals throughout the company who truly believe that there has to be a better way to operate. They have an innovative spirit, and they want to spread their ideas. The biggest question is whether they can push through the existing management structure before they leave the company.
This is why I like to emphasize the difference between leadership and management. When we look at employee engagement (or lack thereof) and what separates an innovative organization versus an organization that exists purely to compete, it comes down to the culture around progressivity and experimentation.

HK: One of my favourite quotes was: “We get so caught up in the game that we forget the bigger story we’re trying to tell, the more meaningful side of things” – would you care to elaborate on this?

Well whether it’s marketing, customer experience,  employee engagement, or getting executive support, what it all comes down to is this: whether we know who we’re talking to, and whether we know what’s important to them.

We need to meet somewhere in the middle of what we’re saying and what people want to hear.

“This is just how we do things” is engrained in metrics and processes. “Doing it differently” means taking a risk – and this isn’t usually rewarded. In fact, it’s usually the opposite! Risk taking is frequently punished in some regards.

So we’re teaching people in the workplace to not be relevant. This is the reason why you have employees who are disengaged at work. The leadership is generally unhappy, and it all sends the same message: we refuse or ignore the opportunity to change the dynamic of how people are communicating. It all comes down to culture and our ability (or inability) to feel like we can try new things.

HK: In five years from now, when many enterprises have gone through and completed the “digital transformation” we call it, what comes next?

I don’t believe that any company is going to achieve a full digital transformation in terms of what it’s truly supposed to be, simply because we’re not done evolving as a society because of technology.

If we look at the 6 Stages of Digital Transformation, the final stage is being in a state of constant innovation and adaptation. It’s an organization state which has elements within the infrastructure of active innovation. It would mean entire teams dedicated to digital transformation and innovation who ensure that processes are constantly becoming more customer-centric.

But it’s ongoing. You’ll still have challenges of bringing new ways of working to the company. Or you may have pockets of people who don’t fully understand the need to support innovation.

The key understanding is that change is constant now. You’ll always be working inside of the organization to create relevance.

I think the closest you get to the ability to remain relevant is how you invest in culture. I don’t believe that companies fully appreciate culture yet. It’s still a soft, squishy subject. We pay more attention to transactions, reports, results, earnings – but we don’t understand the human dynamics that govern those issues or how they’re relatable to the outside.

Understanding how to invest in a culture that still allows you to achieve those results is important, of course, but without empowering people and changing standards to encourage upward mobility in the employee base is how you build that type of dynamic that will lead to a full transformation.

Delivering value to shareholders is just one aspect of a successful business. When we think of brands that have failed to embrace disruption (Blockbuster, for example), the emphasis became too focused on earnings reports rather than focusing on the customer and employee experience.

To be a shareholder now means that you have to be a stakeholder, too. What’s good for customers and employees in the long run might look like a dip in profitability for the short term. But that’s what yields greater returns in the future. Unfortunately, some shareholders still don’t see it this way.

HK: In your opinion, what has been the most profound, technological impact on the business world to date?

I speak a lot about Digital Darwinism, which is technology and society as they evolve. When we look at desktop PC’s, the internet, mobile phones, social media – these have all had their respective impact on business and society.

Even though businesses are making strides in the right direction, they have changed how they see these technologies impacting the societal front. Change is slow, and the purpose of why you’re changing is often just determined by the technology itself (hence social media teams, social media conferences, et cetera.) But we’re not really doing anything new! We’re developing ways to use the existing stuff to communicate with people.

The minute we understand there’s a greater purpose for technology and platforms, and what we actually do within these channels, and what impact they have on people and expectations, that’s when that strive to compete becomes purposeful and accelerated. It brings a true competitive advantage.

I’ve also included an index of my research on these subjects to further help you…

Digital Transformation

The Six Stages of Digital Transformation

8 Success Factors of Digital Transformation

The State of Digital Transformation 2014

Digital Transformation: Why and How Companies are Investing in New Business Models


The Innovation Game: Why and How Businesses are Investing in Innovation Centers (with Capgemini Consulting)

Digital Dynasties: The Rise of Innovation Empires (with Capgemini Consulting)

How to Build a Culture of Innovation Part 1

How to Build a Culture of Innovation Part 2

Connect with Brian!

Twitter: @briansolis
Facebook: TheBrianSolis
LinkedIn: BrianSolis
Youtube: BrianSolisTV
Snapchat: BrianSolis

Experience is everything…read my new book, X!

The post 5 Questions Defining the State and Future of Digital Transformation appeared first on Brian Solis.

Brian Solis

[AMA] Finally, Answers to Your Most Pressing CRO Questions

If you’re a digital marketer then you’ve likely heard of (and probably even nerded out over) conversion rate optimization (CRO) Google Trends suggests that it’s a topic that’s only getting hotter by the year:


But with increasing interest comes an increasing number of unanswered questions like:

How do I create a process for conversion rate optimization? What are the best tools to use for CRO? And how should I score and prioritize my experiments?

Don’t you wish you had your own Tim Gunn-esque figure with years of wisdom to answer all your burning questions (and call you out when you’re doing something that could be costing you marketing dollars)?

What do you mean you’re sending your pay per click traffic to your homepage?

Well, you’re in luck. Because as interest in CRO grows, so too does the expertise of heavyweights in the field. Y’know, the people who were doing conversion rate optimization before you were even googling it.

In HubSpot’s upcoming live Hangout you can ask all those burning questions to six all-star conversion rate optimization experts, including:

Join in live on June 1 at 12 PM EST, or sign up and get the recording emailed to you as soon as it’s available.


9 Questions to Help You Define Your Personal Brand

The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

Lindsey Pollak

1. Who Do I Admire?

While you want to develop a personal brand that is authentic to you, take note of the people you most admire (from any industry, time period or generation) and note the characteristics or experiences that draw you to those people. These are the building blocks of yourbrand – or the brand you aspire to have.   – Lindsey PollakMillennial Workplace Expert

Amanda Barbara

2. What Are My Goals?

Start with your goals. Ask “What are my personal goals and what steps do I need to take to achieve them?”   – Amanda L. BarbaraPubslush

3. What Drives Me?

Josh WeissFigure out what drives you and define your personal brand around it. This authenticity will make you stand out.   – Josh WeissBluegala


4. What Makes Me Different?

Sean KellyTo start defining your personal brand, first ask yourself, “What makes me different from everyone else” and “What gets me excited in the morning?” I’m a firm believer in Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle.” I believe that it’s more important knowing why you do something (that is, what drives you) than what you do. Figure out what makes you different and why you’re doing what you do. Those are the best places to start.   – Sean KellyHUMAN

5. What Do Others Think About Me?

Mike Ambassador BrunyIt’s about getting clear about your essence. One of many questions you can ask yourself is, “What do others usually come to me for that I think isn’t a big deal?” Often those closest to us see things about ourselves that we can’t or simply don’t acknowledge.   – Mike Ambassador BrunyAmbassador Bruny Dot Com

6. What Do I Want to Be?

Andy KaruzaThe first part of defining your personal brand is determining who exactly it is you want to be. From there, you can figure out the steps you need to take in order to become that person. For instance, perhaps you want to be a fashion guru. Once that’s defined, you can work backwards to determine what it takes to be that guru. This might be having good fashion sense, hosting fashion events and consulting others about this subject matter.   – Andy KaruzaBrandbuddee

7. What Is My Oxygen?

jenny_blakeWhat in your life can you simply not live without? What brought you immense joy as a little kid? These are the threads of your personalbrand that you can follow to find the unique value and perspective that you bring to the world. My oxygen: reading, sharing, systematizing, business-building, great meals with friends, in-depth conversations and long walks through New York City with my headphones on (pretending I’m in a movie). What is yours?   – Jenny BlakeJenny Blake

8. What Are My Personal Values?

Nanxi LiuThe first question I would ask is “What are my personal values?” Am I the hardcore women-in-tech-advocate who prioritizes helping others or am I the Jill-of-all-trades who gets involved with music, business and sports? Maybe I’m both.   – Nanxi LiuEnplug


9. What Adjectives Do I Use to Define Myself?

doreen-blochAsking what adjectives you use to describe yourself is a great starting point for getting to the specifics of your personal brand. Start by listing out adjectives you feel represent you, or ask friends and family to chime in. Once you pick a few adjectives, you can begin to construct your personal brand – transforming abstract concepts into concrete representations of who you are.   – Doreen BlochPoshly Inc.

Feature Photo

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career