[Source: This article was published in marketingland.com By Careerplay - Uploaded by the Association Member: Jason bourne]

In this fast-growing era, digital marketers are expected to be skilled in a variety of areas, including analytics, creative direction, sales, digital media and more. Here's how to keep your skills sharp and gain new ones

With more brands than ever relying on digital marketing as their main form of advertising, it’s no surprise that professional digital marketers are in very high demand. In fact, Reuters reports that in 2017, digital marketing spending increased by 44 percent in the United States and to $52 billion in Britain. Globally, digital marketing spend is estimated to approach $100 billion. If you’re looking to work in an industry that continues to grow and provide numerous opportunities, digital marketing may be the perfect career path for you.

What is a digital marketer?

Digital marketing uses many traditional forms of classic marketing and sales techniques, but is coupled with technology for a more modern approach. Depending on your interests and goals, you can train as a digital marketer who is well-rounded in all types of online advertising and marketing, or you can choose to focus on one specific area.

What is a digital marketer

Why should you become a digital marketer?

Even if you don’t have any experience working in digital marketing, this is an industry that offers tremendous opportunities for all skill levels with the right training. It is a fast-paced field that is constantly evolving and as such, new roles that need to be filled pop up quite often. If you’re creative, interested in data, curious about how the consumer mind works, can work well independently and as part of a team, and you’re eager to learn, consider taking the next step toward becoming a professional digital marketer.

Another great advantage of training to become a digital marketer? Although training is often necessary for those new to the field, and a huge plus for those who have some experience, obtaining a four-year degree is often unnecessary. If you’re looking to train in a field that doesn’t require a significant upfront investment, digital marketing may be just what you’re looking for.

The demand for digital marketers is high

Burning Glass Technologies reports that for every four out of 10 marketing job ads, digital marketing knowledge is required. They also report that:

  • Multi-channel marketing and mobile marketing offer some of the higher salaries.
  • Digital marketing positions take approximately 16 percent longer to fill when compared to other roles.
  • Marketing positions that call for digital marketing skills typically offer almost $7,000 more annually.

These numbers are expected to continue to go up as the demand for digital marketers grows as well.

How to become a digital marketer?

The first step to becoming a digital marketer is to enroll in a training program that offers the skills needed to succeed in this field. It can also be helpful to know if there’s a specific area of digital marketing you’d like to focus on, as there are many training programs that target specific types of digital marketing. But it’s always an option to just learn about some of the digital marketing fundamentals initially, and then decide later on if there’s a specific area you’d prefer to concentrate on. 

Enrolling in digital marketing courses

Enrolling in an online digital marketing course is typically the most economical, quickest, and most convenient way to learn about digital marketing. Some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the industry teach these courses, which also include hands-on projects and assignments, allowing students to get a real feel for working in digital marketing. Because the digital marketing field is so competitive, getting certified can get you one step ahead.

Learn from the industry’s best

Whether you’ve already completed a digital marketing course in the past, or you have experience working as a professional digital marketer, it’s important to remember that the industry is constantly changing and evolving. Even the most experienced digital marketers need to keep up with these changes and trends, and by enrolling in an online learning program, you can be sure that you’re always staying on top of these industry changes.

On-the-job training

Without training and earning your digital marketing certification, you may still have a chance at landing an entry-level digital marketing job. Although you can gain some invaluable experience while on the job, you’ll still be at a disadvantage compared to those with several years of experience and/or those who are certified. You may overlook what seems like a minor detail or misunderstand an industry term, and as a result, make a major mistake that potentially costs you your job.

Learn by following the top digital marketing blogs

From learning the basics to fine-tuning advanced skills, following some of the top industry blogs can be a great way to learn about what’s happening in the digital marketing world. There are a lot of great digital marketing blogs to follow; two notable mentions are Search Engine Land and Search Engine Journal.

While these blogs can be a great resource for any skill level, they shouldn’t replace a structured online learning program if you’re serious about a career in digital marketing. They are a good supplement to any online course, but don’t provide the organization that online learning programs provide, nor do they provide certifications.

Learn the basics from free online courses

Similarly to following industry blogs, signing up for a free course can be a good way to supplement an accredited course, but it shouldn’t be a replacement. These courses are often not as structured as accredited programs, and usually won’t be able to prepare you for a certification exam. Students in these courses also don’t often have access to the same types of resources that paid programs provide, such as live lectures and hands-on assignments.

Choosing a path

When you’re ready to enroll in an online digital marketing program, we recommend beginning with the Simplilearn Digital Marketing Certified Associate (DMCA). Students learn all digital marketing fundamentals in this program, and can then choose a path to pursue upon completion. Some popular digital marketing paths include PPC specialist, SEO specialist, and social media marketing specialist. Alternatively, you can decide not to focus on one specific area and pursue a career as an all-around digital marketing specialist.

Let’s explore these different paths in a little more detail.

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Specialist

Whenever you search the web for any given term, you’ll often see top results in the ad space above all of the organic results. PPC specialists set up these ads, and it’s their goal to bring in as much qualified traffic as possible with their provided budget. In order to succeed in PPC, individuals need to be analytical and organized. Prepare for a career in PPC by enrolling in Simplilearn’s Advanced Pay Per Click (PPC) Certification Training.

In this course, students will learn various components of advanced PPC, including web analytics and display advertising. As a PPC specialist, learning about display advertising is essential. This skill prepares you to work with ads, third-party agencies, remarketing campaigns, browser cookies, optimization conversation rates, landing pages, microsites, and much more.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Specialist

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a crucial part of any digital marketing campaign, and an essential skill for a digital marketing professional. A good SEO campaign is what helps any given website perform well in search engines, and companies are often looking for experienced and trained SEO specialists to add to their teams. Sharpen your SEO skills with Simplilearn’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Training Course, which teaches advanced SEO, web analytics, content marketing, and other essential components of SEO.

Social Media Marketing Specialist

With social media becoming extremely widespread across several channels, more and more brands are taking advantage of these platforms for advertising purposes. Aside from creating paid advertisements that are tailor-made for specific audiences, social media marketers also manage company social media accounts to engage current and potential customers organically. This can include a wide range of responsibilities, from curating and posting eye-catching content, to analyzing and reporting on data.

Simplilearn offers several different programs that give students the opportunity to learn social media, from the basic fundamentals to advanced principles. The social media course is designed to teach students not only how to draw traffic to social media pages, but also how to protect a brand’s reputation in the process. Students learn how to plan and execute strategic social media marketing plans, as well as how to analyze data for improving and planning for future campaigns. 

Digital Marketing Specialist

If you like all aspects of online marketing, you don’t necessarily have to focus on one specific area for your career path. As a general digital marketing specialist, you’ll get the opportunity to dabble in a little bit of everything when it comes to digital marketing. With this well-rounded approach, you may have the opportunity to lead a marketing team once you have enough experience. Becoming a digital marketing specialist, manager, or director can be a rewarding experience, but it’s also important to stand out amongst the competition by receiving the right training and certification.

Become a sought-after digital marketer

Simplilearn’s catalog of digital marketing courses offers a wide range of programs for all skill experience levels, whether you’re just starting out or have worked as a digital marketer for some time now. Learn more about the various programs offered and enroll today.

Categorized in How to

Doing research for your next content marketing campaign? Using Google search operators helps speed up your research, and makes your job a lot easier. In this cheat sheet, we’ll share 13 useful search operators for content marketers.

Before we dive into the Google search operators, let’s briefly go over what is a search operator.

What is a Search Operator?

A search operator is a character, or set of characters, used to narrow down the focus of a search engine query.

Savvy content marketers use search operators when researching keywords, competitors, blog post headlines, or when checking SEO health.

Now that you know what a search operator is, let’s take a look at the 13 useful search operators for content marketers.

Exclusive Bonus: Download the Google Search Operators Cheat Sheet to make content marketing research a breeze.

Google Search Operators Cheat Sheet

Here is the Google search operators full list at a glance. We will go into each operator in depth below this cheat sheet.

Feel free to click on each of the search operators below to skip to that section:

Search Operator What it Does Example Query
Quotes (“”) Return only results with a specific phrase “conversion optimization tips”
Minus (-) Exclude a specific keyword from the search results conversion optimization -tips
site: Return results from a particular site site:optinmonster.com
Asterisk (*) Replace this with anything “* content upgrade ideas”
inurl: Return results within URL inurl:conversion
intitle: Return results within title intitle:conversion
inurl:.extension Return results for particular country inurl:.ca
OR Return results for one query or the other query conversion OR optimization
allinpostauthor: Return results from a particular author allinpostauthor:Syed Balkhi
define: Return definitions define:lead magnet
Date/time range Return results from a particular date or time range. any query (must enter your date/time range into Google’s search tools filter)
filetype: Return specific filetypes filetype:PDF
info: Return information about a specific domain info:optinmonster.com

That’s the bird’s eye view. Now let’s take a deep dive into each of these Google search operators…

1. Quotes (“”)

Want to narrow down your search to return only results including a specific phrase? Put that phrase in quotes.

searchoperators-1

This search operator is useful for removing any irrelevant results, particularly with longer search queries.

Use Case: Check for scraped content

Let’s say I want to check and see if anyone has been stealing my content. Maybe I want to make sure that our content isn’t getting filtered out of the search results as duplicate content because someone scraped our post.

To do that, I would want to copy a long string of text from my post.

searchoperators-20

Next, I’ll paste it into Google and put quotes around it.

searchoperators-20

As we can see, Google is only showing our content, so we don’t have anything to be concerned about here.

However, if we really wanted to, we could click on the link to “repeat the search with the omitted results included”. Then, we would see this:

searchoperators-19

The second result is an earlier version of our blog post, so that’s fine. But sure enough, as the third result shows, someone has scraped our post.

Again, I’m not concerned because we have done our on-page SEO properly, and Google is only showing our latest post in the search results, which is exactly what we want.

However, if you think that duplicate content may be negatively affecting your search rankings (or you simply want to rule it out as a possibility), then you may want to perform this check.

2. Minus (-)

Want to exclude a specific keyword from the search results? Put a minus sign in front of it.

searchoperators-2

This is useful when your query has more than one meaning.

Use Case: Research jaguars (the animal, not the car)

Let’s say I need to research jaguars. When I do an initial query, I get the following results.

searchoperators-21

Most of these results are about the car, which is not what I want to see. But let’s see what happens if I add “-car” to the query.

searchoperators-22

Well, the top three results are still about cars (can’t do anything about that). However, the first organic result is “Jaguar | Basic Facts About Jaguars | Defenders of Wildlife”. Now that is the kind of jaguar I want to research!

Scrolling down, the rest of the results also do not appear to be in regard to the automobile. So the minus search operator just saved me a ton of time sifting through results that I don’t want.

3. Site:

Want to search one particular site? Use “site:” in front of the URL for the domain you want to search.

searchoperators-4

This is useful for researching your competitors or checking your own website for indexed pages.

Use Case: Check your site for indexing issues

Let’s say I want to check and make sure that our site doesn’t have any problems being indexed by Google.

To see the indexed pages, I would simply type in “site:optinmonster.com” and look at the number of results.

searchoperators-23

It is showing about 665 results, which seems pretty reasonable to me for the current size of our site. I’m also seeing our homepage coming up first (right after the “Google promotion”), which is good. And if I browse through the pages and look deeper into the search results, I’m seeing that the indexed pages look high quality.

However, if it returned a much lower amount than what I was expecting, then we may have an indexing problem which needs to be addressed.

And on the flip side, if it returned a much higher amount of indexed pages than what I was expecting, then that is also a potential problem because someone may have hacked our site and injected a bunch of spammy pages.

4. Asterisk (*)

Not sure what word(s) you need in your search query? In place of unknown keywords, add an asterisk (*) and Google will replace the asterisk with anything.

searchoperators-12

This is useful for finding list posts by a specific title, but you don’t know the exact number of the list. For example, if I wanted to find all posts entitled, “Top X Free WordPress Themes”, I could do a search for “Top * Free WordPress Themes”.

5. Inurl:

Want to see results that include your keyword in the URL? Add “inurl:” before your keyword in your query.

searchoperators-5

This is useful when you are looking for specific pages on a site.

Use Case: Find guest posting guidelines

Let’s say I want to submit a guest post for Lifehacker, but their guidelines for guest authors is really hard to find. (Many popular publishers will actually hide their guidelines page because they are already swamped with submissions.)

What I would do is search the Lifehacker site (using the “site:” search operator) and add the “inurl” operator to search for keywords that I am guessing might be in the URL, like “guidelines”, “contribute”, “submit”, etc.

searchoperators-25

Bingo! Now I’ve found the page that explains how I can become a Lifehacker contributor.

6. Intitle:

Want to see only pages that have your keyword in their title? Use the “intitle:” search operator just before the keyword.

searchoperators-6

This is useful for competitor research, or researching a blog where you want to get published.

Use Case: Research a target blog

Continuing with the previous use case, let’s say I want to research Lifehacker because I want to write for them. I know I want to write something about email, but I want to make sure that I pitch them with a unique angle that they haven’t covered before.

What I would do is search Lifehacker (using the “site:” operator) and use the “intitle:” operator with the keyword “email”. Then I’d take a look at what headlines come up.

searchoperators-26

The first couple of results aren’t blog posts, but then I can see a whole list of headlines that Lifehacker has used in the past about email.

This is really helpful, because now I can send them a pitch along the lines of, “I see you’ve published a post about the Three-Email Rule, but you haven’t yet covered…”

7. Inurl:.extension

Looking for results from a specific country? Add that country’s domain extension to the “inurl:” search operator.

searchoperators-15

This is useful for checking brand mentions outside your own country.

8. OR

Want to see results for one keyword or another keyword? Place “OR” in between each keyword.

searchoperators-8

This is useful when you aren’t exactly sure which keyword will give you the desired result.

Use Case #1: Make multiple guesses at once

Remember when I wanted to find the guest posting guidelines for Lifehacker using the “inurl:” operator? I wasn’t sure exactly which keyword would reveal the guidelines page, but I had a few educated guesses.

So far, I’ve only been able to make one guess at a time. So unless I make a lucky guess right off the bat, this can be time consuming.

To streamline the process, I could use the “OR” operator and make multiple guesses all in one search query. For example, “site:lifehacker.com inurl:guidelines OR inurl:contribute OR inurl:submit”.

This will return the results for any of these guesses, and hopefully one of these keywords will hit the mark!

Use Case #2: Discover brand mentions

Want to find people who have mentioned your brand? It’s a good idea to know who is mentioning and/or linking to your site, so that you can build relationships with those people and get even more mentions and links in the future.

First, you’ll want to add any different names for your brand into your query (with all possible spellings or misspellings), using the “OR” operator in between each. For example, “OptinMonster OR “Optin Monster””.

Then, you’ll need to use the minus sign to exclude your own properties from the search results. For example, “-site:optinmonster.com -site:wpbeginner.com”. You may also want to exclude social sites, such as, “-site:twitter.com -site:facebook.com -site:youtube.com”

All put together, here’s what that query looks like: “OptinMonster OR “Optin Monster” -site:OptinMonster.com -site:wpbeginner.com -site:twitter.com -site:facebook.com -site:youtube.com”.

And here are our results.

searchoperators-27

We still had a couple of results at the top that were irrelevant (that’s because we didn’t eliminate WordPress.org), however the rest of the results are actual brand mentions for OptinMonster.

Now we can create an alert with this search result, so we can receive emails about new brand mentions!

To create an alert, first go to google.com/alerts. Then, type in your search query.

searchoperators-28

Next, click on “Show Options”, and under Sources select “Web”.

Enter your email and click on the blue button to create your alert.

searchoperators-29

That’s it! Now you’ll be notified of any new brand mentions by email, so you can build valuable relationships and backlinks.

9. Allinpostauthor:

Need to find articles by one particular author? Use the “allinpostauthor:” operator just before the author’s full name.

searchoperators-10

This is useful if you want to study someone else’s content, or if you want to see a particular writer’s work before hiring them.

10. Define:

Want to find the definition of something? Simply use the “define:” search operator.

searchoperators-14

This is useful for doing research on a specific topic for a blog post. Or, you may use it for competitor research to see who comes up in the results for a specific definition that you want to rank for.

11. Date/Time Range

Need to narrow down your search results by a specific date or time range? There used to be a search operator for that (“daterange:”). However, it was a bit difficult to use because it required using the Julian calendar. Now, Google has a filter you can use instead.

searchoperators-11

This filter is useful if your initial query is only showing recent results and you want to see older results, or if you want to see recent results and your initial query is only showing older results.

To access this filter, click on the “Search tools” link directly below the search box. Then, select “Any time” to open up a dropdown menu with a few options.

searchoperators-30

If you don’t like any of the suggestions, click on “Custom range…”. From there, you’ll be able to choose any range of dates that you like.

searchoperators-31

12. Filetype:

Want to find a specific filetype with your keyword? Use the “filetype:” operator, followed by the type of file you are looking for (e.g. “PDF”).

searchoperators-16

This is useful if you want to discover ideas for lead magnets.

13. Info:

There is a lot of general information that you can get from Google on your own domain, or your competitor’s domain, with the “info:” search operator.

searchoperators-17

This is useful for many things, such as finding competitors, finding sites that link to you, or finding sites that link to your competitors.

Use Case: Find sites that link to your domain

To find sites that link to our domain, I’ll first enter the “info:optinmonster.com” query into Google. Then, I’ll see a number of choices. Let’s select “Find web pages that link to optinmonster.com”.

searchoperators-17

This will return the websites that most frequently link to OptinMonster.

searchoperators-33

That’s it. Now it’s your turn.

Go ahead and pick one of the Google search operators above to start with. Play around with it as you conduct your research. Then, as you become familiar with each of these operators, try combining them to get even more focused results.

 Source: This article was published optinmonster.com By Mary Fernandez

Categorized in Search Engine

In the age of voice search and assistants, columnist Andrew Ruegger discusses how marketers should be adjusting their strategies to stay competitive.

Generation Z and early Generation Alpha will likely be the last of us to type.

Keyboard users are a dying population. Who is the next generation? Voice users. If you spend time with young kids, you’ll notice that they favor voice assistants over keyboards. And who can blame them? People rarely turn down easier ways of doing things!

Marketers need to be thinking about this shift, because voice search will have a significant impact on content discovery through search. Although currently there is no simple or precise way of identifying voice vs. non-voice queries, “Okay Google” queries are becoming far more common in search query reports for our clients, and they’re even showing up as rising terms in Google Trends.

To be successful in this shifting landscape, marketers need to start fine-tuning their strategies across media and content types, including text, image and video.

For website content, it may be in your best interest to have specific natural language pages that come from CRM (customer relationship management) exchanges so that search engines can index them and return more accurate information to consumers based on past conversations. Queries like “best running shoes” will start to fade, and hyper-specific requests tailored to that individual, like “Okay Google, I need a size 10 and a half running shoe with a 5-star rating that’s on sale in-store on Newbury Street,” will start to increase.

For images and videos, traditional SEO factors such as naming, tagging, descriptions, titles, transcripts and where the assets reside will continue to be crucial to help map natural language queries to the best content. So if you’ve optimized toward head terms like “running shoes,” you may want to revisit the core value propositions of your products and work toward always winning on specific and critical points of differentiation.

You can then optimize toward these specific attributes, because it’s unlikely that someone is going to use “Okay Google running shoes” as their voice search query.

What are people actually talking to Google Voice about?

The first step in pivoting your strategy to account for the rise in voice assistants is to understand how people are using them. The good news is that all marketers who run paid search can see all the things people are saying in voice when they receive an ad impression.

You can download the raw data from Google AdWords Search Query Report and filter for “Okay Google.” Technically, I don’t think the activation line “Okay Google” is passed in every time there is a voice query. Also, I think many instances of “Okay Google” queries are from individuals who got a bit impatient and said the activation phrase multiple times, thus logging it.

However, at this time, filtering by the activation line is the only way to clearly identify a voice query from a typed one, although some voice queries are easy to identify when looking at mobile-specific queries.

Overall, it’s clear that a class on “How to Speak to Voice Assistants” would go a long way. Although I’m sure all the voice assistants would love to be your friend, they are simply not there, and there’s a specific way you need to speak to actually get what you want. That fact, however, doesn’t seem to prevent people from attempting to shoot the moon.

Below are examples of real voice queries, and I find them to be hysterical, but also very informative. If you invest heavily in paid search, this data can be extremely valuable for many areas of your marketing, including your digital strategy, product development, and brand communication, which brings us to point one:

1. Consumers talk to their assistants like they’re people, not programs

Overly complicated queries with multilayered requests are hard for assistants to answer.

“Okay google go get the number for Ken Gop for me in San Bernardino California and also Dallas please”

Close, but not quite. I don’t think Ken Gop is a real person. I looked into it.

2. Consumers are struggling with the basics of using voice assistants

Consumers specifically struggle when Google Voice is already on and they don’t realize it:

“you know I don’t like asking it it creeps me out, okay google when does tempe marketplace close?”


Not bad, but I doubt Google will give you the closing time if you call it creepy.

To be fair, voice assistants commonly join the conversation without being invited. My favorite moments during work meetings these days are when someone who has placed their phone on the conference table unexpectedly has their voice assistant join in after believing it heard an activation phrase.

3. Consumers who appear to understand voice functionality tend to get specific, sometimes disturbingly specific

“okay google find the closest place my seven year old son can get white skinny jeans”


C’mon brands! Where is the organic content that showcases 7-year-olds’ skinny jeans?

Creating content with as many characteristics and dimensions as possible is going to be important for voice assistants. When I talk to my voice assistant, I’m going to ask for jeans that are 32w 30l, dark, on sale, high ratings — and if you serve me an ad that gives me anything but that, I will leave. I simply don’t have the time to click around. I’m a millennial after all.

4. People get personal and honest with their voice assistant

“Okay Google, I want to get him trashy pajamas for Christmas.” Poor guy.


So, Kohl’s… ouch. Google thinks you have the trashiest Christmas pajamas. But if there are sales to be had, I can’t blame you.

In all seriousness, this highlights an important point for brands, especially as voice integration becomes common everywhere: You don’t want to be discovered for bad things.

For example, when using Alexa to browse Amazon to buy pajamas, I’ll say, “Alexa, I want to see the highest-rated pajamas that are on sale.” In return, I’ll receive a list of 10 pajamas, and they look great.

Then I will ask, “Which of these pajamas has received the greatest drop (or increase) in ratings in the past three months?” I know that Amazon is saturated with ratings from a variety of sources, and something that has a 4.5 average with over 10,000 ratings may be holding onto legacy quality that the company or product is actually failing to maintain.

These are the types of things brands will need to consider in the age of voice search and assistants.

Author : Andrew Ruegger

Source : http://marketingland.com/marketers-thinking-voice-search-208662

Categorized in Search Engine

When customers evaluate a product or service, they weigh its perceived value against the asking price. Marketers have generally focused much of their time and energy on managing the price side of that equation, since raising prices can immediately boost profits. But that’s the easy part: Pricing usually consists of managing a relatively small set of numbers, and pricing analytics and tactics are highly evolved.

What consumers truly value, however, can be difficult to pin down and psychologically complicated. How can leadership teams actively manage value or devise ways to deliver more of it, whether functional (saving time, reducing cost) or emotional (reducing anxiety, providing entertainment)? Discrete choice analysis—which simulates demand for different combinations of product features, pricing, and other components—and similar research techniques are powerful and useful tools, but they are designed to test consumer reactions to preconceived concepts of value—the concepts that managers are accustomed to judging. Coming up with new concepts requires anticipating what else people might consider valuable.

The amount and nature of value in a particular product or service always lie in the eye of the beholder, of course. Yet universal building blocks of value do exist, creating opportunities for companies to improve their performance in current markets or break into new ones. A rigorous model of consumer value allows a company to come up with new combinations of value that its products and services could deliver. The right combinations, our analysis shows, pay off in stronger customer loyalty, greater consumer willingness to try a particular brand, and sustained revenue growth.

We have identified 30 “elements of value”—fundamental attributes in their most essential and discrete forms. These elements fall into four categories: functional, emotional, life changing, and social impact. Some elements are more inwardly focused, primarily addressing consumers’ personal needs. For example, the life-changing element motivation is at the core of Fitbit’s exercise-tracking products. Others are outwardly focused, helping customers interact in or navigate the external world. The functional element organizes is central to The Container Store and Intuit’s TurboTax, because both help consumers deal with complexities in their world.

In our research we don’t accept on its face a consumer’s statement that a certain product attribute is important; instead we explore what underlies that statement. For example, when someone says her bank is “convenient,” its value derives from some combination of the functional elements saves time, avoids hassle, simplifies, and reduces effort. And when the owner of a $10,000 Leica talks about the quality of the product and the pictures it takes, an underlying life-changing element is self-actualization, arising from the pride of owning a camera that famous photographers have used for a century.

The elements of value approach extends Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs.”

Three decades of experience doing consumer research and observation for corporate clients led us to identify these 30 fundamental attributes, which we derived from scores of quantitative and qualitative customer studies. Many of the studies involved the well-known interviewing technique “laddering,” which probes consumers’ initial stated preferences to identify what’s driving them.

Our model traces its conceptual roots to the psychologist Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs,” which was first published in 1943. Then a faculty member at Brooklyn College, Maslow argued that human actions arise from an innate desire to fulfill needs ranging from the very basic (security, warmth, food, rest) to the complex (self-esteem, altruism). Almost all marketers today are familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy. The elements of value approach extends his insights by focusing on people as consumers—describing their behavior as it relates to products and services.

It may be useful to briefly compare Maslow’s thinking with our model. Marketers have seen his hierarchy organized in a pyramid (although it was later interpreters, not Maslow himself, who expressed his theory that way). At the bottom of the pyramid are physiological and safety needs, and at the top are self-actualization and self-transcendence. The popular assumption has been that people cannot attain the needs at the top until they have met the ones below. Maslow himself took a more nuanced view, realizing that numerous patterns of fulfillment can exist. For example, rock climbers achieve self-actualization in unroped ascents of thousands of feet, ignoring basic safety considerations.

Similarly, the elements of value pyramid is a heuristic model—practical rather than theoretically perfect—in which the most powerful forms of value live at the top. To be able to deliver on those higher-order elements, a company must provide at least some of the functional elements required by a particular product category. But many combinations of elements exist in successful products and services today.

Most of these elements have been around for centuries and probably longer, although their manifestations have changed over time. Connects was first provided by couriers bearing messages on foot. Then came the Pony Express, the telegraph, the pneumatic post, the telephone, the internet, e-mail, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites.

 

The relevance of elements varies according to industry, culture, and demographics. For example, nostalgia or integrates may mean little to subsistence farmers in developing countries, whereas reduces risk and makes money are vital to them. Likewise, throughout history, self-actualization has been out of reach for most consumers, who were focused on survival (even if they found fulfillment through spiritual or worldly pursuits). But anything that saved time, reduced effort, or reduced cost was prized.

Growing Revenue

To test whether the elements of value can be tied to company performance—specifically, a company’s customer relationships and revenue growth—we collaborated with Research Now (an online sampling and data collection company) to survey more than 10,000 U.S. consumers about their perceptions of nearly 50 U.S.-based companies. Each respondent scored one company—from which he or she had bought a product or service during the previous six months—on each element, using a 0–10 scale. When companies had major branded divisions such as insurance or banking, we conducted separate interviews focused on those divisions. We then looked at the relationships among these rankings, each company’s Net Promoter Score (NPS)—a widely used metric for customer loyalty and advocacy—and the company’s recent revenue growth.

Our first hypothesis was that the companies that performed well on multiple elements of value would have more loyal customers than the rest. The survey confirmed that. Companies with high scores (defined as an 8 or above) on four or more elements from at least 50% of respondents—such as Apple, Samsung, USAA, TOMS, and Amazon—had, on average, three times the NPS of companies with just one high score, and 20 times the NPS of companies with none. More is clearly better—although it’s obviously unrealistic to try to inject all 30 elements into a product or a service. Even a consumer powerhouse like Apple, one of the best performers we studied, scored high on only 11 of the 30 elements. Companies must choose their elements strategically, as we will illustrate.

Our second hypothesis was that companies doing well on multiple elements would grow revenue at a faster rate than others. Strong performance on multiple elements does indeed correlate closely with higher and sustained revenue growth. Companies that scored high on four or more elements had recent revenue growth four times greater than that of companies with only one high score. The winning companies understand how they stack up against competitors and have methodically chosen new elements to deliver over time (though most of them did not use our specific framework).

Next we explored whether the elements of value could shed light on the astonishing market share growth of pure-play digital retailers. This, too, was confirmed empirically. Amazon, for instance, achieved high scores on eight mostly functional elements, illustrating the power of adding value to a core offering. It has chosen product features that closely correspond to those in our model. For example, in creating Amazon Prime, in 2005, the company initially focused on delivering reduces cost and saves time by providing unlimited two-day shipping for a flat $79 annual fee. Then it expanded Prime to include streaming media (provides access and fun/entertainment), unlimited photo storage on Amazon servers (reduces risk), and other features. Each new element attracted a large group of consumers and helped raise Amazon’s services far above commodity status. Prime has penetrated nearly 40% of the U.S. retail market, and Amazon has become a juggernaut of consumer value. That allowed the company to raise Prime’s annual fee to $99 in 2015—a large price increase by any standard.

Patterns of Value

To help companies think about managing the value side of the equation more directly, we wanted to understand how the elements translate to successful business performance. Are some of them more important than others? Do companies have to compete at or near the top of the pyramid to be successful? Or can they succeed by excelling on functional elements alone? What value do consumers see in digital versus omnichannel companies? We used our data to identify three patterns of value creation.

Some elements do matter more than others.

Across all the industries we studied, perceived quality affects customer advocacy more than any other element. Products and services must attain a certain minimum level, and no other elements can make up for a significant shortfall on this one.

After quality, the critical elements depend on the industry. In food and beverages, sensory appeal, not surprisingly, runs a close second. In consumer banking, provides access and heirloom (a good investment for future generations) are the elements that matter; in fact, heirloom is crucial in financial services generally, because of the connection between money and inheritance. The broad appeal of smartphones stems from how they deliver multiple elements, including reduces effort, saves time, connects, integrates, variety, fun/entertainment, provides access, and organizes. Manufacturers of these products—Apple, Samsung, and LG—got some of the highest value ratings across all companies studied.

Consumers perceive digital firms as offering more value.

Well-designed online businesses make many consumer interactions easier and more convenient. Mainly digital companies thus excel on saves time and avoids hassles. Zappos, for example, scored twice as high as traditional apparel competitors did on those two elements and several others. Overall, it achieved high scores on eight elements—way ahead of traditional retailers. Netflix outperformed traditional TV service providers with scores three times as high on reduces cost, therapeutic value, and nostalgia. Netflix also scored higher than other media providers on variety, illustrating how effectively it has persuaded customers, without any objective evidence, that it offers more titles.

Brick-and-mortar businesses can still win on certain elements.

Omnichannel retailers win on some emotional and life-changing elements. For example, they are twice as likely as online-only retailers to score high on badge value, attractiveness, and affiliation and belonging. Consumers who get help from employees in stores give much higher ratings to those retailers; indeed, emotional elements have probably helped some store-based retailers stay in business.

Moreover, companies that score high on emotional elements tend to have a higher NPS, on average, than companies that spike only on functional elements. This finding is consistent with previous Bain analysis showing that digital technologies have been transforming physical businesses rather than annihilating them. The fusion of digital and physical channels is proving more powerful than either one alone. That accounts in part for why E*TRADE has invested in physical branches and why retailers such as Warby Parker and Bonobos have launched physical stores. (See “Digital-Physical Mashups,” by Darrell K. Rigby, HBR, September 2014.) These patterns demonstrate that there are many ways to succeed by delivering various kinds of value. Amazon expanded functional excellence in a mass market. Apple excels on 11 elements in the pyramid, several of them high up, which allows the company to charge premium prices. TOMS excels on four elements, and one of them is self-transcendence, because the company gives away one pair of shoes to needy people for every pair bought by a customer. This appeals to a select group of people who care about charitable giving.

Putting the Elements to Work

These patterns are intriguing in their own right, and they illuminate how some companies have chosen to navigate upheaval in their industries. Ultimately, however, the elements must prove their usefulness in solving business challenges, particularly growing revenue. Companies can improve on the elements that form their core value, which will help set them apart from the competition and meet their customers’ needs better. They can also judiciously add elements to expand their value proposition without overhauling their products or services. 

Companies have begun to use our method in several practical ways, instilling a “hunt for value” mentality in their employees. Although many successful entrepreneurs have instinctively found ways to deliver value as part of their innovation process, that becomes harder as companies grow. The leaders of most large organizations spend less time with customers, and innovation often slows. The elements can help them identify new value once again.

Some companies have refined their product designs to deliver more elements. Vanguard, for instance, added a low-fee, partly automated advice platform to its core investment services in order to keep its clients better informed and, in many cases, to reduce risk. A chainsaw manufacturer that felt undifferentiated used the elements of value to identify specific ways of making future products distinctive. It focused on quality (defined as the results of using its products), saves time, and reduces cost. These three elements had the greatest effect on customer satisfaction and loyalty, and the company was able to build competitive advantage with them.

Other companies have used the elements to identify where customers perceive strengths and weaknesses. They start by understanding which elements are the most important for their industry and how they stack up on those relative to competitors. If a company trails in the crucial elements, it should improve on them before attempting to add new ones. A large consumer bank found that although it fared relatively well on avoids hassles and saves time, it did not score well on quality. The bank did extensive research into why its quality ratings were low and launched initiatives to strengthen anti-fraud operations and enhance the mobile app experience.

The broadest commercial potential of the elements of value model currently lies in developing new types of value to provide. Additions make the most sense when the organization can deliver them while using its current capabilities and making a reasonable investment, and when the elements align with the company’s brand.

Sometimes selecting an additional element is fairly straightforward: Acronis and other software providers added cloud backup and storage services to reinforce their brand promise of reduces risk for computer users. Another key element in cloud backup is provides access, because users can reach their files from any computer, tablet, or smartphone connected to the internet.

It’s not always so obvious which elements to add, however. One financial services company recognized that if it could attract more consumers to its retail banking business, it might be able to cross-sell insurance, investment advice, and other products. But how could it do that? The company arrived at the best answer through three largely qualitative research stages followed by a fourth, highly quantitative stage.

Structured listening.

Working with Bain, the company interviewed current and prospective customers across the United States, individually and in groups. The goal was to understand consumers’ priorities for a checking account, their frustrations, their compromises, and their reasons for using multiple institutions for banking services.

“Ideation” sessions.

We then used the elements to explore where improvements in value might resonate with consumers. Bain’s survey data had identified the elements that tend to reinforce customer advocacy in consumer banking, among them provides access, heirloom, and reduces anxiety. Those insights, combined with the consumer research, informed ideation sessions with a project team consisting of people from all customer-touching departments across the bank, not just marketers.

The sessions explored which elements might be used to form the nucleus of a new offering. For example, provides access and connects held appeal, because the bank might be able to provide access to mutual funds or connect consumers with financial planners. In the end, however, the team decided that neither element was feasible in this business, primarily for reasons of cost. Instead it developed 12 checking-account concepts that were built around reduces cost, makes money,and reduces anxiety. Reduces cost highlighted low fees, while reduces anxietyemphasized automatic savings. Reduces anxiety was particularly important, because most of the targeted consumers were living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to save money.

Customer-centric design of prototype concepts.

Each concept approved by the project team contained a different mix of product features, fees, and levels of customer service. Many of these new concepts could be delivered through an improved smartphone app that would increase customer engagement with the bank. Almost all the targeted consumers used smartphones for financial services (consistent with our earlier observations on the many elements of value delivered by these devices).

No other elements can make up for a significant shortfall on quality.

The financial services company then conducted further one-on-one interviews with consumers and got fast feedback that allowed it to winnow the 12 prototypes down to four concepts for enhanced value. Then, on the basis of the feedback, it refined them in the fourth, quantitative stage:

Rigorous choice modeling.

Having designed the four prototypes, the project team tested them with thousands of customers using discrete choice analysis, which requires people to make a sequence of explicit choices when presented with a series of product options. The researchers began by amassing a detailed list of the attributes for each prototype—ATM fees, overdraft fees, credit monitoring, customer service hours, and so on. They presented respondents with several sets of checking accounts that varied on these attributes, asking them to select which prototype from each set they preferred. This process was repeated several times, as attributes changed according to an experimental design, until the team derived the winning combination of attributes.

Two clear finalists emerged, which the bank recently launched in the marketplace. It will use customer demographics and the increase in demand to gauge the eventual winner.

Getting Started

The elements of value work best when a company’s leaders recognize them as a growth opportunity and make value a priority. It should be at least as important as cost management, pricing, and customer loyalty. Companies can establish a discipline around improving value in some key areas:

New-product development.

Our model can stimulate ideas for new products and for elements to add to existing products. Managers might ask, for example: Can we connect in a new way with consumers? Can our customers benefit from integration with other software applications? Can we add therapeutic value to our service?

Pricing.

Managers commonly view pricing as one of the most important levers in demand management, because when demand is constant, higher prices accrue directly to profits. But higher prices also change the consumer value equation, so any discussion about raising prices should consider the addition of value elements. Recall how Amazon’s judicious increases in value helped justify higher prices over time.

Customer segmentation.

Most companies have a formal method of segmenting their customers into demographic or behavioral groups, which presents an opportunity to analyze what each of these groups values and then develop products and services that deliver those elements.

Whenever an occasion to improve value presents itself, managers should start with a survey of current customers and likely prospects to learn where the company stands on the elements it is (or is not) delivering. The survey should cover both product and brand, because examinations of the two may yield different insights. For example, the product itself may deliver lots of value, whereas customers have difficulty getting service or technical support.

The elements of value have an organizational dimension as well: Someone in the company should be tapped to explicitly think about, manage, and monitor value. One pay-TV executive, lamenting the success of Netflix, told us, “I have a lot of people working on product features and service improvements, but I don’t have anyone really thinking about consumer value elements in a holistic manner.”

The concept of value remains rooted in psychology, but the elements of value can make it much less amorphous and mysterious. Abraham Maslow emphasized the bold, confident, positive potential of psychology. The elements can help managers creatively add value to their brands, products, and services and thereby gain an edge with consumers—the true arbiters of value.

A version of this article appeared in the September 2016 issue (pp.46–53) of Harvard Business Review. 
 

Author : Eric AlmquistJohn SeniorNicolas Bloch

Source : https://hbr.org/2016/09/the-elements-of-value

In PPC, we hear a lot about keyword search volume, yet far less attention is paid to this crucial metric compared to, say, click-through rate or cost-per-click. Although these metrics are important, search volume can be equally important – especially for SEOs.

In today’s post, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about search volume: what it is, why it’s important, and how to use it in your marketing campaigns, all with real-world examples to illustrate the main points. We’ll be focusing on these concepts primarily from an SEO perspective, but we’ll also be dipping into some PPC-related topics, too.

What Is Keyword Search Volume?

As the term implies, keyword search volume refers to the volume (or number) of searches for a particular keyword in a given timeframe. Keyword search volume is typically averaged over a set timeframe to provide marketers with a general idea of a search term’s competitiveness and overall volume. This data is often contextualized within specific timeframes to allow SEOs and marketers to see how certain keywords drive traffic over time.

Seasonality often plays a significant role in keyword search volume. Yes, the most diligent bargain-hunters may begin their search for “Christmas gift ideas” in July, but most people will wait until October or November before conducting this kind of search.

Keyword Search Volume seasonal keywords example

Image via Energy Circle

Other search terms are “evergreen,” meaning there’s no seasonal or timeliness associated with them, and their search volume stays steady over time. Of course, it’s worth remembering that an evergreen keyword in one country or region may be seasonal in another.

Why Does Keyword Search Volume Matter?

Search volume matters because search engines are one of the key ways that sites attract new visitors and traffic. For example, at WordStream, organic search drives about 70% of total traffic! So it’s crucial to target keywords in your content that actually have real search volume – if no one is searching for the keywords you’re targeting, no one will find your content. However, if you’re only targeting keywords with extremely high search volume, it will be difficult to compete with bigger sites and get your content ranking.

Keyword Search Volume Google Analytics traffic sources

Access traffic source data in Google Analytics by selecting
Acquisition > Source/Medium from the main
navigational menu

Search volume is also important to your PPC bidding strategy, since high-volume terms will tend to be more competitive and more expensive if they are also commercial in terms of intent.

How to Get Keyword Search Volume Data

Before you can start using keyword search volume data to inform your SEO or PPC strategy, you need to actually get your hands on it. Here are several tools you can use to find and examine your keyword search volume data.

SEM Rush

SEM Rush is a competitive intelligence tool that offers users a wealth of useful data, including keyword search volume.

Keyword search volume SEM Rush screenshot

As you can see in the figure above, SEM Rush offers an at-a-glance dashboard overview for specific keywords, in this case “ski jackets”. We can see the approximate average search volume, as well as the CPC and competitiveness of the query. We’re provided a graph overview of how keyword trends change over time, as well as related and phrase-match keywords that are relevant to our original query.

Note that the above screenshot was taken from a completely free search. Subscription plans are available to users who need more robust functionality and in-depth data, but it’s a solid place to start looking for keyword search volume data.

Moz Keyword Explorer

Moz doesn’t just run one of the best SEO and search blogs in the business – it also makes a range of ass-kicking tools that make life easier for digital marketers of all stripes. One of Moz’s best tools for SEOs is its Keyword Explorer.

Keyword search volume Moz Keyword Explorer

The above figure shows a sample dashboard from Moz Keyword Explorer for the same term we used SEM Rush to evaluate, “ski jackets”. Although there’s quite a breadth in terms of the overall keyword search volume – between 11.5k and 30.3k – we’re also provided with several other valuable data points, such as an intuitive indication of the term’s competitiveness (or “Difficulty”, as Moz puts it), suggested relevant keywords, as well as SERP analysis, which also shows both Page and Domain Authority scores (more on this shortly).

Similarly to SEM Rush, Moz Keyword Explorer can be used for free, but is bundled with the Moz Pro suite of tools for power users. Overall, one of the best ways to start examining search volume data.

Google Trends

Although it may not be as fully featured as SEM Rush or Moz Keyword Explorer, Google Trends can be used to evaluate keyword search volume data.

Google Trends offers some interesting perspectives on this kind of data, such as geographic popularity, growth and decline data for specific terms, and related topics, which can be extremely useful for identifying branded terms related to more generic keywords. Take a look at the Google Trends data for the term “ski jackets”:

Keyword search volume Google Trends interest over time

The figure above shows interest over time during the previous 12-month period for the search query “ski jackets.” This particular graph shows worldwide interest in that term, but this can be refined to display data for specific regions, as this graph does for the United States:

Keyword search volume Google Trends interest over time United States

And here’s some interesting data for both related topics and the comparative popularity of related search queries:

Keyword search volume Google Trends related terms report

As useful and interesting as this data is, it still doesn’t tell us the competitiveness of this search query. Not a bad place to start, but this isn’t inclusive or comprehensive enough for most SEOs and digital marketers.

Google Keyword Planner

You may have used Google’s Keyword Planner – part of the AdWords interface – to conduct keyword research in the past. It’s a great tool and offers a range of useful data, particularly if you’re conducting keyword research as part of a PPC campaign.

Keyword search volume Google Keyword Planner

The figure above shows how the Keyword Planner displays keyword search volume data. We can see average monthly search volumes over time (with specific timeframe parameters also available), and beneath this graph you’ll find the related keywords and ad group suggestions you’d expect from this kind of tool (not shown in the image above). You can also mouse over each column in these graphs to see tool-tip figures, which is handy.

It’s worth noting, however, that after recent changes to the AdWords interface, this data is now only available to users running active AdWords campaigns. If you aren’t, you’ll see a simplified, truncated version of the data, and no graphs or other visual representations of the data.

With that out of the way, let’s get back to the task at hand – working with your keyword search volume data.

Which Keyword Search Volumes Should You Be Targeting?

Whether you’re an SEO, a PPC specialist, or a digital marketing generalist, keyword search volume is a crucial metric that is often overlooked in favor of other metrics such as click-through rate. However, keyword search volume should be part of the foundation upon which your efforts should be built – but how do you know which range of volumes you should be targeting?

Balancing Volume with Competition

When it comes to keyword search volume, there are two primary factors to take into consideration: volume and competitiveness. Keywords with higher volumes mean more potential exposure (or impression share), but will likely be much more competitive. This, in turn, makes it harder to rank for these terms as you’ll probably be going up against well-established publishers and sites, or higher CPCs if you’re bidding on these terms as part of a paid search campaign.

Keyword search volume comparing average volume with competition

Evaluating the average monthly search volume for an ad group vs. the competition
of its keywords

Knowing which types of terms to target depends largely on your situation and goals. If you’re a brand-new website, you may want to begin by targeting low-volume, low-competition keywords as a starting point to establish some domain authority. Alternatively, if you’re a well-established site with strong organic rankings, you may want to delve into slightly more competitive territory to maintain your edge.

How Site Authority Should Inform Your Targeting Strategy

When it comes to SEO, there are potentially thousands of factors that can impact your rankings, not least of which include your location, the nature of your site or business, and the quality of your content (more on this shortly).

However, among the most important of these factors is your domain authority. Before we get into the weeds of how your site authority should inform your targeting strategy, let’s take a lightning-quick look at some of these terms.

What Is Domain Authority?

Although domain authority is a general SEO concept, it’s also a defined metric created by our friends at Moz that evaluates the strength of a website (or domain) on a logarithmic scale of 0-100. The higher the score, the stronger the site.

Keyword search volume BBC domain authority example

Sample data for the domain authority of bbc.co.uk. Image via Moz.

Moz uses around 40 ranking signals, such as the total number of links to a given domain, to determine a site’s domain authority.

What Metrics Affect Domain Authority?

While Moz examines around 40 signals to determine domain authority, one of the most important is a site’s link profile.

Keyword search volume Moz link profile data example

Moz’s data (and independent research by leading SEOs around the world) strongly suggests a direct correlation between strong link profiles and higher organic rankings. Your site’s link profile is impacted by both the number of external links to your site – links to your website from other websites – and the quality of those links.

An external link from a well-known and respected domain such as a .gov domain or a site such as BBC News is worth significantly more than a link from a tiny upstart blog hosted on WordPress.com, for example. More high-quality links means a stronger link profile.

Which Keywords Should I Be Targeting?

Now that we know a little more about domain authority, it’s time for the $64,000 question – which keywords should you be targeting?

The answer? It depends.

I know that’s not the answer you were hoping for, but unfortunately, as with virtually everything in digital marketing, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Ultimately, the keywords you choose to target will be affected by your domain authority, your goals, and the search volume and competitiveness of the keywords you’re going after.

Keyword search volume low competition keywords

This screenshot, taken from a Russian AdWords account, shows that the query
“jpg to pdf” has a healthy average search volume and low competition

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any rough guidelines you can use when it comes to SEO. Newer sites or those with lower domain authority may want to target lower-volume, less competitive keywords to attract external links and establish more authority in your space. Over time, you can become more confident and/or aggressive in how you target keywords, but don’t forget to ensure that the keywords you’re targeting are relevant to your business and your website as a whole.

But what if you’ve set your sights on a highly competitive keyword with enormous search volume? Read on.

How to Rank for Keywords with High Search Volumes

Whether you’re an SEO rookie or a seasoned veteran, going after keywords with high search volumes is always a challenge. On the one hand, these search terms can be immensely valuable to your business, bringing in tons of referral traffic and amassing a growing number of external links. On the other, these terms are often highly sought-after precisely because of the value they offer, meaning that competition to rank for them is intense.

Keyword search volume climbers facing a huge mountain

So how do you rank for keywords with high search volumes? By creating truly exceptional content.

High-Quality Content: The Alpha and Omega of Organic Rankings

Although it’s vital to optimize your content for maximum discoverability, your primary focus whenever attempting to rank for a keyword – regardless of its search volume or competitiveness – should be on creating the most exceptional content you possibly can. Every time, all the time, now and forever.

We don’t know exactly how Google’s algorithms work, or even the precise ranking signals it uses when evaluating a website or piece of content. We do know, however, that quality and relevance are two of the most important elements when it comes to organic rankings.

Think of it in the same terms you would for PPC. We know that at least some of Google’s ad auction algorithm is based on ads beating the expected CTR for a given keyword:

Keyword search volume expected CTR graph

As you can see in the figure above, AdWords accounts with higher Quality Scores typically exceed the expected CTR for a given search term. By beating the expected CTR for a search query, Google can infer that the ad in question is strong, given that more users click on those ads than others.

The same principle applies to content and SEO. Beating your competitors by achieving higher-than-average click-through rates tells Google that your content is relevant, of high quality, and deserving of greater visibility.

Although the figure above was created by examining WordStream customer data, this theory has been backed up by other sources. Check out this graph that originally appeared at Moz:

Keyword search volume position according to CTR

This graph demonstrates that search results with the highest click-through rates also occupied higher positions on the SERP. This reinforces the concept that content of higher quality will rank more highly than content with a lower CTR.

(To learn more about improving your “organic Quality Score,” check out this fascinating post by Larry about Google’s RankBrain.)

Pump Up the (Search) Volume

Keyword search volume is a complex topic, and one that varies from one business to another. Hopefully this post has cleared up some of the questions you may have had about search volume and how to leverage it in your SEO and PPC campaigns. As always, get at me in the comments with questions, opinions, or tips of your own.

Author : Dan Shewan

Source : http://www.business2community.com/online-marketing/beginners-guide-keyword-search-volume-marketers-01762087#CkLXbgfK4c5l5XQz.97

Since Bing's debut in 2009, the search engine's user base has grown to 524 million unique users who conduct about 5 billion searches each month, according to an infographic published by Bing and its parent company, Microsoft.

The Bing Network of search partners has also grown: Bing now powers searches for Yahoo, Windows 10, Siri, Amazon, and others. And nearly one-third of searches conducted on PCs are powered by the Bing Network.

So, what does all that mean for your business?

When marketing, knowing your customers and where they spend their time is the first step. The infographic breaks down Bing users into some key psychographics, including Trendsetters and Tech Junkies.

See more about who's using the Bing Network and what that means for you. Click or tap on the infographic for larger version:

Author : Laura Forer

Source : https://www.marketingprofs.com/chirp/2017/31313/who-searches-on-bing-and-why-theyre-important-for-marketers-infographic

Categorized in Search Engine

DMN spoke with Kyle Christensen of Invoca, a call intelligence company, to make sense of the changes

Changes are taking the pace…

And marketers need to catch up. Two weeks ago, Google announced to a group of AdWords advertisers that upcoming changes would occur to the phone numbers that appear in ads.

Well, the time is here, and DMN spoke with Kyle Christensen, senior vice president of marketing at Invoca, a call intelligence company, to make sense of the changes.

Yesterday, Google AdWords launched changes that will affect campaigns that use both call extensions and local extensions by no longer giving marketers the opportunity to differentiate calls driven from AdWords location-based business ads, and calls driven from other sources to their main line.

While the change will allow Google to test different methods of collection, it will present marketers with a heavy reliance on Google's analytics, as well as a lack of call conversion tracking at the individual location level.

“For a practical example from a user perspective: if a consumer searches ‘laundromat,' the number that appears in the paid ad they see will now automatically match the number that appears in the organic search results for that local business, rather than a number the company was using to track or route the call,” said Christensen.

The change joins a number of updates that are part of Google's effort to create a more consistent user experience, which also included the introduction of a new feature called Automated Call Extensions.

“This feature impacts advertisers that do not yet use call extensions, but have a strong call-to-action to place a phone call,” said Christensen. “In these cases, Google will pull the phone number from the advertiser's landing page and automatically create a call extension that forwards calls to that landing page phone number.”

The impact the changes will have on marketers, according to Christensen, will depend on a number of factors.

“First, local businesses will be impacted more than regional, national or international ones. Local advertisers who frequently show location extensions may start to see more calls going to their Google My Business phone number rather than their direct call extension number,” said Christensen.

On the other hand, for marketers with a basic marketing stack, or those that may be relying solely on Google My Business alone to manage their business calls, Christensen said  these changes won't make much of a difference.

“However, more sophisticated marketers using third party call intelligence solutions — especially those that drive a significant volume of calls from local search ads — will lose the ability track these calls once this change takes effect unless they opt out,” said Christensen.

Such impacts convey the limited advantage of Google call extension capabilities, forcing some brands, according to Christensen to adopt call intelligence solutions.

“If you use a call intelligence platform and fail to opt out of Google's update, you'll lose the opportunity to connect what happens offline during a phone call to the rest of the customer journey,” said Christensen.

Author : Alexander Neely

Source : http://www.dmnews.com/marketing-strategy/how-the-google-adwords-changes-will-affect-marketers/article/632804/

Categorized in Market Research

Presents under the tree or in the stocking, like health devices, smart watches and virtual reality kits all have huge potential for marketers but could also pose problems

The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is warning marketers to fully consider the ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ aspects of the multitude of smart devices that are set to be given as presents this Christmas.

This year’s Black Friday sales indicated that there will be a lot of smart devices making their way down chimneys this Christmas, promising new ways to connect with customers, opening up interesting fresh lines of communication and engagement.

However, the CIM is warning that although new technologies offer exciting new prospects, putting them to use won’t be without its pitfalls. Three key technologies will step into the mainstream this Christmas: health apps and devices, smart watches and Virtual Reality (VR).

These have the potential to be both ‘naughty’ and ‘nice’ for marketers, as the CIM explains:

1) Health apps and devices – fitness trackers are hitting the mainstream, with more brands competing to offer a way to track your exercise, diet and more.

Naughty: Brands need to be careful because health apps and devices grant them access to data of a personal nature.

This is potentially incredibly sensitive and every step must be taken to ensure it does not fall into the wrong hands and that data is secured appropriately.

 

It seems not a day goes by without a data breach being reported in the press, and with research showing 57% of consumers do not trust organisations to use their data responsibly, marketers need to ensure they are handling data in a sensible, secure manner.

Nice: However, these can provide a great opportunity for brands, and their partners, to offer incentives or rewards, such as discounts, based on health targets being met.

Some insurers are already using health trackers to encourage people to lower risk by exercising more in exchange for lower premiums and lifestyle rewards.

There is also potential to personalise the customer experience using this type of data, for example using geo-location to target regional consumers.

2) Smart watches – research has shown that more than half of smart watch owners use them every day, so clearly there’s potential for a regular flow of data and interactivity points from them.

Naughty: Just like when there was the move from desktop to mobile, marketers need to take the time to understand the best way to interact with customers through their watch – you cannot just take your mobile offering and think it will work on a smart watch.

Smart watches allow consumers to activate and control them with their voice, useful when the screen fits on your wrist.

This is why it will be vital for brands to take a ‘watch-first’ approach to areas such as app development and watch-friendly marketing if they are to succeed.

Nice: Gone are the days when watches were just used merely for telling the time.

Now they are starting to take on many functionalities of smart phones, making them increasingly practical for use on the go.

Reaching smart watch users can provide a way to engage consumers outside of their phones, and offers a novel way to reach them.

 

3) Virtual reality – between cardboard offerings and Oculus’s full virtual reality platform, mid-range virtual reality sets are finally here, making them a realistic option for Christmas.

Naughty: Just because the technology is available, it doesn’t mean marketers should rush to implement it without fully considering how it can be used.

VR is an expensive technology to use and so marketers need to establish how valuable it is for their brand and whether using it will add value to the bottom line.

Essentially, is virtual reality an appropriate way to engage your customers, or are you just jumping on the bandwagon?

Nice: The immersive experience of VR offers a great opportunity for marketers to interact with their customers, allowing them to experience the brand in a unique way.

For example, John Lewis has tied its Christmas advert to a VR experience in-store, allowing consumers to be part of the advert and building the relationship with the brand.

Maria Heckel, marketing director, The Chartered Institute of Marketing, commented that “It’s exciting to see technology continue to provide new opportunities for marketers to engage with consumers”.

“If people are viewing data as ‘the new oil’, smart devices are wells they can use to pull it from the ground. However, just as drilling for oil carries great risk, these new data sources must also be treated with caution and handled in the right way to ensure accidents don’t happen.”

“It’s vital for marketers to ensure that they have fully considered the use of this tech, including the potential positives and negatives, before launching into a full roll-out.”

Author:  Nick Ismail

Source:  http://www.information-age.com/privacy-digital-age-123463728

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Expanded text ads (ETAs) are a big deal. At least a dozen articles on this fine site can attest to that fact (including one that I wrote myself).

Spread out across all of the articles and discussions online, I’ve read more than a bit of speculation. So, I decided to get together with the product management team behind expanded text ads to definitively answer some of the most common questions.

1. Does anything bad happen if I wait until the last possible moment to upgrade?

You’re not directly penalized or anything like that. However, I wouldn’t recommend sitting on your hands.

Think about how long you’ve been honing your standard text ads — probably years, right? Early adopters of ETAs have generally said that iterating on successful ads is crucial. The earlier you adopt, the earlier you start learning things.

2. How do ETAs interact in the auction, especially with standard text ads still running?

Nothing about the AdWords auction has fundamentally changed. Each ad receives specific, auction-time quality ratings, and that quality rating is combined with your bid and the expected impact of your ad extensions to create an Ad Rank.

There’s one nuance that’s been incorporated for ETAs, though. Here’s a bit from the Help Centerthat’s relevant:

To calculate the most accurate expected CTR, it’s important that the influence of ad position (as well as other factors that affect visibility, such as extensions and other ad formats) on expected CTR is taken into account and removed from the determination of expected CTR.

The main goal of the system boils down to measuring the performance of your ads against the average lift of ETAs generally. If your ETAs are average performers overall, then you shouldn’t see any changes in your core ad metrics. If you’re performing better or worse than that average, though, your Ad Rank would increase or decrease accordingly.

In the end, it creates a world where expanded text ads and standard text ads can compete more fairly. The idea is to prevent ETAs from getting a large advantage in the auction simply because they have more prominence.

3. Why are my expanded text ads performing worse than my standard text ads?

It’s possible that your ETAs are simply worse ads than your standard text ads. Expanded text ads are an opportunity to rethink your entire creative, but be thoughtful about it. Don’t make such a drastic change that your ad isn’t relevant to a user’s query anymore.

A new ad should still consider the lessons that you’ve learned previously. Successful calls to action, benefits or dynamic aspects like customizers or keyword insertion should be incorporated. You can even start creating new ads by moving what used to be in your description line 1 up to headline 2. It’s important to try out some different things, but you want to test and iterate.

With that said, it’s also possible that your metrics for judging performance aren’t the best. Which leads to the next question:

4. How do I know if my ETAs are performing better than my standard text ads?

At first glance, simply comparing the click-through rates (CTR) for your standard and expanded text ads seems like it should provide a good answer. But CTR alone isn’t the best way to evaluate performance — there are other factors you need to take into account.

When you are looking at metrics, it’s important to make like-for-like comparisons. Make sure you are looking at Google.com traffic vs. Search Partners by segmenting based on “Network.”

segmenting-by-network-with-search-partners-800

If you’re optimizing your ads to rotate for clicks or conversions, % served can tell you which ads are being prioritized for performance and is often a better indicator of how relevant your ad is. If you’re comparing CTRs, look at the CTRs of ads within an ad group, while making sure everything else remains consistent (things like position and device).

In some cases, expanded text ads may be providing more impressions (e.g., for different keywords), and the click-through rates may not be comparable.

5. Once my ETAs perform better than my standard text ads, should I get rid of all of my old ads?

Be cautious. You want to be sure that your improved performance is consistent and sustained. If you’re too quick on the trigger when removing your standard text ads, it’s possible that you might lose impressions.

If you’re on the fence, I’d say leave them in while optimizing your ads for clicks or conversions; don’t leave them rotating evenly if you know expanded text ads are winning. If those old ads are worse performers, they shouldn’t serve much anyway.

6. What should I think about when testing to find the best ETA?

Focus tests on your headlines. Your description text is helpful, for sure. But in terms of what users see and what they actually click, your headline is what carries the most weight.

7. How do we connect with mobile users now that expanded text ads don’t support mobile-preferred creatives?

ETAs are optimized for the most popular devices, so they should do a great job of connecting with mobile users. Our product managers understand that control is important, though, so they took a hard look at how people were using mobile-preferred creatives with standard text ads. They’ve ensured that the two major ways people took advantage of mobile-preferred ads would still be present:

  • Mobile URLs can be used to direct mobile users to the best pages on your site.
  • Mobile ad customizers can be uploaded via business data to create mobile-specific calls to action and other benefits.

I know that not everyone is comfortable using business data yet, so we’re also working on additional functions to make it even simpler to tailor ads to mobile users. Stay tuned.

Also, I should point out that ETAs are designed to work across devices. The search results have been streamlined to improve the user experience on Google Search and to make that experience consistent across desktop, tablet and mobile.

8. When will ETAs be available with other formats like call-only ads and Dynamic Search Ads?

The sooner the better. We don’t have specific dates to announce yet, but know that our teams are working their butts off to get things in place as quickly as possible.

9. Should I be concerned about my expanded text ads being truncated?

Headline truncation happens in extremely rare cases on a small slice of smaller-width desktop browsers. It’s important to note that some of our preview tools overstated how often truncation actually occurs in the past. Check out this post for more info.

10. Is there a way to edit any subdomain that might be showing in my ad?

In the pre-ETA world, you could specify a final (and unseen) URL and a display URL. Now, your subdomain will always be extracted and included as part of the visible URL that shows in your ad. This decision was made because of user trust.

People look to your URL to understand where they’re going. It’s crucial that an ad accurately reflects what site someone is clicking on (which is something that people tried to take advantage of in the old setup).

If you have a unique situation where having a different display sub-domain has a clear and compelling user value, and you would like to discuss options, contact your Google account team.

11. What if I don’t want my ads to be expanded?

Most people don’t ask this, but it is something I’ve heard. Once standard text ads go away, you can still mimic their format via expanded text ads.

Your old headline can be headline 1, your URL could be headline 2, then you can keep your description text as is. You have to use all of the main fields, but you don’t need to use all of the available characters within those fields.

If you’re particularly attached to pre-existing ad text, you can adapt it to fit into the new format easily. Just keep in mind that your competitors are probably figuring out how to put that extra space to good use.

12. How do ETAs work on the Display Network?

They work like standard text ads do. You can add them to your campaigns, and they’ll serve, but we recommend using responsive ads.

AdWords released expanded text ads in late July. Columnist and Googler Matt Lawson answers some FAQs about what you should consider as you expand your own ads.

This new format is designed specifically for the Google Display Network — it’s super-flexible and can fit seamlessly into just about any website or app.

13. Is there anything we should do differently with ETAs on brand keywords?

Most likely, yes. But like so much else, that’s not really a change from standard text ads. Ad text has always been about writing a useful answer to whatever a user is searching for. And what’s compelling will most likely change if a user is already looking for you specifically.

Carry over what you know to be compelling in brand ads as you test what’ll work best in this new, expanded format. I know that some advertisers are seeing success with shorter ads for brand terms. You should also think about including words like “Official Site” that indicate trust.

Finally, fewer commercial words can be effective. You might consider a branding approach instead of calling someone to action in your text.

Conclusion

Expanded text ads are great, and it’s important to make a smooth transition by January 31, 2017. If you’re about to make this transition yourself, keep these main guidelines in mind:

  • Test. Ideally, test a lot of ads per ad group (three to five, depending on your bandwidth).
  • Remember what you already know to be true from earlier tests.
  • Focus on testing your new expanded headlines.
  • Leave standard text ads running until ETAs prove to be more successful.

If you have more questions, keep asking them. We’re listening.

Source : searchengineland.com

Author : Matt Lawson

Categorized in Market Research

Google is seeking new branded content opportunities for it’s YouTube stars with its acquisition of FameBit. Announced yesterday, Google picked up the self-service marketplace where brands and social media influencers collaborate for product or service endorsements. Google bought the startup from Science Inc., whose portfolio has included Dollar Shave Club (which Unilever bought in July) and HelloSociety (which the New York Times acquired in March).

“We believe that Google’s relationship with brands and YouTube’s partnerships with creators, combined with FameBit’s technology and expertise, will help increase the number of branded content opportunities available, bringing even more revenue into the online video community,” said Google vice president of product management Ariel Bardin in a blog post.

The Toronto-born startup was founded in January 2014 by Agnes Kozera and David Kierzkowski, who built it to meet their own small business influencer marketing needs. The company last year moved to Silicon Valley, where it caught the interest of Google.

“After helping influencers make money — and sometimes even a full-time living — through YouTube and other platforms, it only makes sense that we would bring those capabilities to Google itself,” //medium.com/@mjones/google-acquires-famebit-from-science-inc-757eb859f8f3#.6f1swghc6" style="box-sizing: border-box; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(253, 57, 13); text-decoration: none; transition: all 0.15s ease; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.247059);">said Michael Jones, CEO of Science.

In their own blog post today, FameBit cofounders Kozera and David Kierzkowski remarked, “With Google’s relationship with brands large and small, and YouTube’s partnership with creators around the globe, we hope to connect even more brands to creators, engage more audiences, and make brand marketing more creative and authentic than ever.”

Details of the transaction were not revealed.

Source : techvibes.com

Categorized in Online Research
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