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2016 B2C Benchmark Report Summary Header

7 Highlights from the B2C Benchmarking Report 2016

By | Content Marketing, Industry News | No Comments

Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs recently released the results from their sixth annual content marketing survey. If you haven’t been able to read the 2016 B2C report yet, or are too busy to comb through the report’s 30-plus pages, the following are the key takeaways all business-to-consumer content marketers should understand.

1. Communication is key to a B2C marketer’s success.

This year’s B2C research proved that good communication is an important part of content marketing success. This observation is the same with B2B marketers, but it’s more apparent with B2C marketers. Here’s how B2C marketers compare to B2B marketers:

  • Meet with their teams more often to examine their content marketing progress.
  • Their team meetings are more valuable.
  • They’re even more likely to document their editorial mission and content marketing strategy.
  • They believe their organization is more effective with their content marketing efforts.

2. More marketers document their content marketing strategy.

B2C marketers are making strides with their documenting efforts. 37 percent reported documenting their strategy this year compared to only 27 percent last year. And as you should expect, research shows that documented content marketing strategies are more effective than marketers who only have a verbal strategy or don’t have one at all.

3. About half meet daily or weekly to go over their content marketing program.

Forty-eight percent of B2C marketers get together with their team for content marketing discussions either every day or every week. Twenty-eight percent of those marketers find these meetings extremely valuable, while 31 percent say they are very valuable.

4. Infographics have the greatest year-over-year increase.

Sixty-two percent of B2C marketers are using infographics this year, compared to just 45 percent last year. This content marketing tactic’s effectiveness rating also increased this year, 42 percent last year up to 63 percent this year.

5. Facebook is the most used social media platform.

Not only is Facebook the most used platform by B2C marketers, they’re also getting better results with it. And this year, surveyors rated Facebook more effective than last year, from 58 percent up to 66 percent.

6. B2C marketers have changed their paid methods for distributing and promoting content.

In the past, B2C marketers mostly used print and other offline promotion techniques to distribute their content. Now, they use promoted posts, social ads and SEM as their paid methods to distribute and promote their content.

7. Content marketing is receiving more of the marketing budget.

This year, B2C marketers are putting 32 percent of their total marketing budget to content marketing versus only 25 percent last year.

2016 B2B Benchmark Report Summary Header

10 Takeaways from the B2B Content Marketing Benchmark Report 2016

By | Content Marketing, Industry News | No Comments

For the last six years, Content Marketing Institute has teamed up with MarketingProfs to bring content marketers a yearly benchmark report regarding the state of content marketing with B2B businesses. If you haven’t read the 2016 B2B report, or you don’t have time read through the whole thing, here are the key takeaways you should be aware of.

1. Effective content marketers do things differently.

This was the key theme of this year’s B2B research, and the four things we content marketers do differently are:

  1. Understand how successful content marketing looks.
  2. Document content marketing strategies.
  3. Record editorial mission statements.
  4. Communicate with team members.

2. Organizations’ effectiveness at content marketing is down from last year.

In 2015, 38 percent of B2B marketers surveyed said their organizations were effective. This year, that number dropped to 30 percent. Respondents who document, are good communicators and have experience had higher effectiveness levels.

3. More B2B marketers aren’t sure what success or effectiveness looks like with their organization.

Fifty-five percent said they’re unclear or unsure about success or effectiveness within their organization, while only 44 percent are clear.

4. The more marketers meet, the more effective they are.

Forty-four percent meet every day or every week, be that in person or virtually, to go over their content marketing program’s progress. Sixty-one percent of the most effective B2B marketers meet daily or weekly.

5. Organizations are more effective when they document their strategy.

Research unfailingly tells us that documenting our strategy makes us more effective in every area of content marketing. Yet, fewer B2B marketers have a documented strategy, 32 percent this year compared to 35 percent last year.

6. Content marketing maturity levels are equally apportioned.

The content marketing maturity levels of respondents surveyed show nearly one-third were in the early stage, one-third in the adolescent stage and one-third in the mature stage. And as you’d expect, findings prove that the more experience marketers have, the more effective they are.

7. Total marketing budget allocated to content marketing is the same as last year.

Twenty-eight percent of B2B marketers distribute their budget to content marketing efforts. But the most effective distribute 42 percent, while the most mature divvy out 46 percent.

8. Two goals should be on content marketers’ radar this year.

During the next 12 months, lead gen and sales are the most important goals for B2B content marketers.

9. Website traffic is no longer the only significantly used metric.

B2B marketers rated metrics by importance this year, and the results were that sales lead quality, sales and higher conversion rates, in that order, also matter.

10. The top priority for internal content creators remains the same.

Like in past reports, the biggest focus for the coming year is producing engaging content.

2015 Year in Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing Year in Review 2015

By | Industry News, Video | No Comments

As your news feeds become inundated with predictions for 2016, let’s take a look back at what unfolded in 2015 within the wild world of digital marketing.

January 1, 2015

Facebook Limits Promotional Content

Beginning in January 2015, people will see less promotional content in their News Feeds.

March 3, 2015

YouTube Spaces Further Shows Platforms Strength

By March 2015, over 10,000 videos had been created in YouTube Spaces and generated over 1 billion views and over 70 million hours of watch time.

April 22, 2015

Mobile Update AKA “Mobilegeddon”

Mobile rankings would differ for mobile-friendly sites starting on April 21st. The impact of this update was, in the short-term, much smaller than expected.

June 16, 2015

Twitter Native Videos

Twitter gives functionality to upload, edit and share videos straight from your smartphone to the platform, just as you do with photos.

September 9, 2015

Instagram Opens Worldwide Advertising Capabilities

Instagram ads, previously available only in 8 countries, now are available in more than 20 others. Including Italy, Spain and India.

September 27, 2015

Google Announces Customer Match and Universal App Campaigns

Google introduces new advertising capabilities including upload email lists to reach new and existing customers across Google Search, Gmail, and YouTube.

October 25, 2015

RankBrain

Google executives unveiled their advancements in artificial intelligence by revealing the technology that’s been processing a large portion of its search queries.

What’s next for 2016?

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STRYDE | Google Announces Two Important Ranking Signal Changes

Google Announces Two Important Ranking Signal Changes

By | Industry News | No Comments

Yesterday, February 26, 2015, Google announced two changes to “help users discover more mobile-friendly content.” Recognizing shifting user habits, Google is adjusting the ranking signals to mobile-friendly pages and app indexing.

In the update posted yesterday to Google Webmaster Central, Takaki Makino, Chaesang Jung, and Doantam Phan outlined the changes to the algorithm and when these changes will go into effect.

On more mobile-friendly websites in search results:

Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.

What does this mean for your website? It means that your site better be mobile-friendly! Google has given website owners plenty of time, almost two full months, to make the necessary adjustments to their sites. If you need help getting started, head over to Google Developer Mobile-Friendly Websites guide.

The second change impacts how app content is shown within search results:

Starting today, we will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed. As a result, we may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search.

If you have an app, you need to implement App Indexing as soon as possible. With App Indexing, users can go directly from relevant search results to your app, as long as it’s already installed on their phone.

It seems that all of the 2015 predictions that rolled out last month are already coming to fruition: mobile is indeed the focus of the year! We think this will serve as a great benefit to user experience, and website owners should make the necessary changes to better serve consumers. What do you think about the announcement?

Read the original update from Google on Finding more mobile-friendly search results here.

What the 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Report Tells Us

By | Business, Digital Marketing, Industry News | No Comments

Last year I wrote a post recapping the findings from Software Advice’s 2013 Online B2B Buyer Behavior Report. This year marketing technology advisor Software Advice is at it again, but this time around they put together a 2014 B2B Demand Generation Benchmark Report.

Demand generation, which I’m sure most of you already know, is using targeted marketing programs to help drive more awareness of and interest in your company’s products or services. In this report, Software Advice surveyed 200 B2B marketing professionals, mostly senior-level marketers, and discovered what channels, offers, content types and technologies they used to power their demand gen programs, as well as which ones worked the most effectively for them. Three key takeaways stood out from this report:

  1. The best channels that brought in large numbers of high-quality leads were trade shows, referral marketing and in-house email marketing.
  2. Videos were the most used content type, used by 92% of those surveyed, and videos produced a large quantity of leads.
  3. 79% of the B2B marketers use at least 11 marketing software applications, and 97% use email marketing software.

Best Channels for Generating Leads

The B2B marketers surveyed were asked to rate channels based on the relative quantity and quality of leads generated by said channels. Trade shows and events were picked as generating the most leads and the best leads, which Michele Linn, content development director at CMI, credited to in-person events being meaningful and powerful today when basically everything we do is online.

SA graph

Other channels that did well were search engine advertising, in-house email marketing and TV, radio and print advertisements. If you want to run programs that focus on quantity, these are options you should look into if you aren’t already doing them. But steer clear of direct mail and display advertising, as these 2 finished last.

While trade shows and events brought in large amounts of promising leads, they were also picked as being the channels that had a high cost-per-lead. Low-cost channels included in-house email marketing, organic search and social media. Social media marketing, the campaigns and programs excluding ads, made the top of the list at being the lowest cost-per-lead.

Content Types and Number of Leads They Produce

Next, the marketers were asked to rank content types by their effectiveness with demand generation and lead generation. Of all surveyed, 92% said video was the most commonly used content type for demand gen programs. Videos ranked just ahead of surveys, white papers and case studies.

SA graph 2

Videos and surveys also ranked as the top-2 ways for generating the most quantity of leads. Videos have been most thought of as content that helps brands build trust with their consumers and is used to simply entertain them. But as this report shows, companies must be producing more actionable videos that are generating more and more quality leads.

Rounding out the list of content types given, e-books and case studies finished at the bottom.

Software Applications Used for Demand Generation Efforts

SA graph 3

Software Advice then provided 11 software systems and asked the marketers to select which ones they used to assist with their demand gen efforts. Almost all surveyed, 97%, use email marketing software. Following closing behind were CRM and marketing automation systems. But what should be noted is that 79% of those surveyed use all of the 11 software solutions they were shown, and more than 70% said all 11 were reasonably important with their demand gen efforts. This proves that B2B marketing departments rely heavily on information technology.

Demand Generation Expectations and Spending

The last two questions Software Advice asked were how the marketers’ demand gen programs were performing compared to their expectations and what their plans for demand gen spending were for 2015. Forty-four percent of small businesses, those with less than 100 employees, said their efforts performed below what they anticipated, while 27% of midsized companies and 29% of large companies said the same.

Matt Heinz, president of Heinz Marketing, believes these results are because many marketers set foolish expectations. Marketers want things right now, but they forget their prospects don’t function exactly how they want.

“Across the board, we too often expect marketing programs to work immediately,” he said. “We want qualified leads, now! But our prospects don’t work that way.”

As for spending with demand gen efforts, 41% of the marketers surveyed said they were going to increase their yearly spending, 43% said they were going to spend the same amount and 17% said they were going to decrease spending for the upcoming year.

SA graph 4

Linn said it’s no surprise at all that more marketers are planning to spend more for 2015.

“People realize now that having a demand generation strategy is so critical,” she said. “They need to plan content along the entire customer lifecycle. And it can be very time-intensive and resource-intensive. So, from that perspective, it’s not surprising that people are increasing spend at all. It’s an engine that constantly needs to be fed.”

Event Recap: Content Marketing Bootcamp 2014

By | Industry News | No Comments

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpgYesterday, half of the Stryde team traveled to the beautiful Adobe complex in Lehi, UT. What brought us and hundreds of other Utah marketers together here was an in-depth, hands-on, education Content Marketing Bootcamp event. Utah Business Magazine, Adobe, and Avalaunch were the main sponsors who put on this intense and information-packed day-long session.

From 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, we were treated to golden pieces of wisdom from eight of the best minds in content marketing. We learned so much, that we wanted to pass along the highlights to those who couldn’t attend.

Marcus Sheridan, The Sales Lion

“How To Create a Culture of Content Marketing that Gets Incredible Results”

Hearing Marcus Sheridan speak is like getting a B12 shot. He has so much energy, it leaves you wanting to take on the world and answer all the questions. But in all seriousness, Marcus is not afraid to confront marketers with the questions they don’t want to answer.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Chad Warren, Adobe

“Social Analytics”

Chad Warren was clearly feeling at home in the beautiful surroundings of the Adobe building. He was a gracious host who even divulged a “dirty secret” of social media: “No one wants to be friends with your business.”

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

David Malmborg, Right Intel

“Turning Content Curation into Thought Leadership – The Hierarchy of Content Marketing Needs”

We’re huge fans of Right Intel already, and we’re pretty sure the rest of the marketers in attendance would agree with us after David Malmborg took the stage yesterday. Malmborg encouraged all of us to become the curators in the museum that is our business.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Josh Parkinson, Post Planner

“The Top Heresies of Content Marketing — and Why Committing Them is Crucial”

Josh Parkinson didn’t disappoint with his energy, either. Parkinson’s passion and “break all the rules” attitude towards social media kept the audience totally enthralled.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Rachael Herrscher, Today’s Mama Blog

“Social Content Creation: Working With Social Platforms and Bloggers For Impact”

Rachael Herrscher’s authenticity and no-nonsense approach to business are qualities left the whole room hanging on her every word. Whether it was her lesson on what is and is not a “mommy blog” or her insights on how to get the most out of posting on social media platforms, Herrscher certainly left us with actionable content marketing items.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Owen Fuller, Qzzr

“How to make one of those insanely viral quizzes that you’re seeing everywhere”

After hearing one of the Qwizwards speak, you are guaranteed to catch the quizzing bug. Owen Fuller gave us all amazing insight into why quizzes are so viral, and how to bottle some of that magic.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Dan Bischoff, Content Hook

“Lessons From the AP: How To Build a Winning Content Team”

Dan Bischoff taught all of us the importance of a well-balanced content marketing team. The underlying theme of his presentation is something that we’re still thinking about today: creating a human connection through a brand.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

Devin Knighton, Instructure/Canvas

“Thinking Big: How Instructure Canvas Partnered with AMC TV on “The Walking Dead”

When a great marketing mind Devin Knighton took the stage, we knew we were in for a treat. Knighton’s recanting of the events that lead up to Instructure/Canvas’ partnership with “The Walking Dead” made us all believe that we’re capable of greatness, too.

Our Favorite Twitter Moment:

As you can see, we were inundated with content marketing goodies yesterday! If you attended, what was your favorite part of the day? 

STRYDE | 7 #Pubcon Tweets Of The Week

7 #Pubcon Tweets Of The Week

By | Industry News | No Comments

TWEETS OF THE WEEK (2)

Our weekly roundup has been overtaken by Pubcon! This week marked the 14th Pubcon, which took place from October 6th through the 9th in fabulous Las Vegas.

For those unfamiliar with the event, Pubcon is “the premier social media and optimization conference, is supported by the industry’s leading businesses, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors involved in social media, Internet marketing, search engines, and digital advertising, and offers an in-depth look at the future of technology presented by the world’s top speakers in provocative cutting-edge sessions.”

The Pubcon attendees and speakers are a who’s-who of digital marketing, so we figured they should be featured in this installment of Tweets of the Week.

1. Casie Gillette suffered from Pubcon #FOMO:

2. Mat Siltala’s beard now has it’s own Twitter:

3. To no one’s surprise, Jay Baer owned Vegas:

4. Ryan Jones dropped some #Pubcon wisdom:

5. Ann Smarty gave us a peek from the inside:

6. Bill Hartzer told us what Panda was really named after (as Tweeted by Rebecca Murtagh):

7. And finally, Russell Jones let us know how the attendees were really feeling:

Did you attend Pubcon this year? Tell us about what you learned!

STRYDE | Utah Marketing Awards 2014

Utah Marketing Awards 2014

By | Awards, Industry News | No Comments

For those in the marketing world, or those trying to get into the marketing world, there was only one place to be Wednesday afternoon — the 2014 Utah Marketing Awards.

More than 200 of the best Utah marketing professionals and small business owners attended this second annual event, hosted by the Utah Chapter of the American Marketing Association, at The Loveland Living Planet Aquarium. These talented marketers gathered, mingled, ate, shared ideas and recognized the big dogs and the up-and-comers of the local marketing scene at this year’s UMAs.

Here’s what made this year’s UMAs a hit with all those in attendance:

  • Met creative, talented, bright-minded marketing folk from across the state
  • Exchanged ideas, advice, bad jokes and business cards with innovative marketers
  • Networked with marketers, small business owners and others interested in the marketing, business and communications fields
  • Made and built relationships with the best marketing minds Utah has to offer
  • Entertained by local comedian John Moyer

Besides meeting and greeting with fellow marketers, another big part of this event was recognizing and awarding local marketers for their skills and influence in the marketing world. The awards given out this year were: Best Marketing Team, Best Marketing Campaign, Rising Star and Best Branding/Re-branding. Here were the winners:

Best Marketing Team

Best B2C Marketing Team Winner: The Color Run

The Color Run is a for-profit event management company that hosts numerous colorful 5k events around the world. They believe and celebrate healthiness, happiness and individuality at each of their events. The Color Run hosted more than 170 events in more than 30 countries in 2013.

Best B2B Marketing Team Winner: StorageCraft

StorageCraft is an international software development company, with corporate headquarters in Utah, European headquarters in Ireland and regional offices around the world. They develop high-quality software solutions for desktops, laptops and servers.

Best Marketing Campaign

Best Content Marketing Campaign Winner: 97th Floor

97th Floor is a digital marketing agency. Their team uses creativity and innovation to help their clients flourish online.

Best Online Marketing Campaign Winner: Salt Lake Comic Con

Salt Lake Comic Con is a popular pop culture convention that brings fans together with their favorite comics, anime, sci-fi, fantasy, TV and film, along with their creators, celebrities and other professionals, to meet and greet and learn more about what they do.

Best Omni Channel Campaign Winner: MarketStar

MarketStar is a sales, marketing and business process outsourcing agency. They currently have 3,500 employees worldwide that serve clients on six continents in more than 60 countries.

Rising Star

Winner: Emily Burkhart, Social Media Manager with Stryde

Emily has been serving Stryde and its clients with her wit and rad social media marketing skills since March. She spends her workdays artistically promoting content through all the social networks, coming up with innovative social strategies, writing insightful blog posts, networking and keeping up with the latest industry news. Before becoming a Strydette, Emily attended the University of Utah and graduated with a degree in marketing. When she’s not obsessing inside the social world, this native Chicagoan loves bragging about her Blackhawks, pizza knowledge and her furry best friend, Lucy. (In case you can’t tell, we’re very proud and honored with this award since it was given to one of our own. Go Emily!)

Winner: April McKay, Marketing Event Coordinator with StorageCraft

April McKay is the marketing event coordinator at StorageCraft, an international software development company.

Winner: Carly Ray, Event Coordinator with Canvas

Carly Ray is the event coordinator with Canvas, a LMS created by Instructure that makes teaching and learning easier for millions of teachers and students.

Best Branding/Rebranding

Best Rebrand Winner: CompHealth

CompHealth is one of the biggest health care staffing firms in America. They have highly trained experts who help people find the best solutions for their specific situations and believe in putting people first.

Best Website Winner: Canvas by Instructure

Instructure was founded in 2008 and launched Canvas in 2011. Canvas is an innovative LMS used by more than 800 colleges, universities and school districts, helping millions of students and teachers better and more easily learn and teach in their classrooms.

Some lucky folks walked away with an award, but everyone walked away with innovative marketing solutions and a pocket full of business contacts. It’s a great and fun event for Utah marketers, so if you missed this year’s UMAs make sure you attend next year!

In Case You Haven’t Noticed, Analytics Changes Have Been Made

By | Industry News, Uncategorized | No Comments

Business Analytics

Yesterday we were putting together our mid-month reports and saw our “Visits” numbers on Google Analytics, and then by 4 p.m. we noticed that section’s wording had changed to “Sessions”. Since we weren’t expecting that, the switch piqued our interest.

But the Visits section changing to Sessions wasn’t the only noticeable change. What we once knew as “Unique Visitors” was now reading as “Users”.

Luckily Google Analytics knew all of us businesses with one of their accounts would be confused and like to be enlightened on what these changes are and why they’re happening.

Google Analytics’ thinking behind these changes is that businesses need to better understand and analyze their user behavior as users interact with businesses through several digital touchpoints, like websites, mobile apps and a few other digital devices, in today’s world. With these very recent changes, which will be rolling out to all accounts over the next week, businesses will now view their web and app data from the same reporting view.

If your business sends web and app hits to one property in your Google Analytics account, you’ll now see all your hits in all your reporting views. You can choose to add in a filter to your reporting views if you want to keep this data separate though. If you don’t send the two sets of data to the same property in your account you don’t need to worry because your data is staying the same.

But it doesn’t matter how businesses send their data because everyone is going to see the unified dimension, metric and segment names in their reports. With the names being the same in each view, businesses now have a clear-cut and uniform way to analyze and discuss their Google Analytics data.

Changes always take a little time to get used to, but changes also usually happen for the better. So bring on the changes Google Analytics. We’re ready to adapt.

Thoughts On Guest Blogging & Building Brand Awareness/Credibility

By | Industry News | One Comment

I was out yesterday taking a long weekend with the family and came into the office this morning to this bad boy:

http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/guest-blogging/

After taking some time to digest the post and talking with colleagues, I started writing up an email to our clients updating them on the news and educating them on our plans going forward. About halfway through, I decided to throw this in a post and send it out to our clients and our list of newsletter subscribers. Enjoy…

Here we are again with another post from Matt Cutts (Head of Web Spam @ Google) about guest blogging. We’ve all seen this coming for some time now. Anytime an SEO gets a hold of a tactic that drives rankings for clients, they abuse the heck out of it and ruin it for everyone else. So when Matt talks about guest posting, what exactly is he talking about. Well, we believe he is talking about guest posts that look something like this:

http://blog.seniorlivingguide.com (they’ve actually taken the post down after this published)

As I look at this site, I immediately notice several things:

  • The site is full of posts that are for link building purposes only.
    • First post, generic content… anchor text link. Next post, generic content… anchor text link. Next post…
  • This site has nothing to do with automatic knives. Senior citizens don’t want to use automatic knives… I promise!!
  • Not a lot of social shares or people talking about this site.

We don’t believe it’s targeting guest posts that are on truly legitimate sites like http://www.backcountrysecrets.com/

There are several people who produce content for this site, it’s on topic, it gets shared, and it’s most likely screened and approved before going live. These are the types of opportunities that we seek on your behalf. They do take far more time to secure, but are worth it at the end of the day!

So what is our strategy going forward?

To be completely honest, we aren’t changing a whole lot. We’ve never engaged in low quality guest posting, so we’re not too concerned about the update. We will however, continue to rely on the following to build your brand awareness and credibility:

  • Link pruning!
    • If your site has received links from low quality guest posts from previous agencies or in-house employees who didn’t know better, we will be identifying those that are, in our opinion, “risky” and working to remove them.
  • On site content creation, optimization, and promotion.
    • In our opinion, nothing is more powerful than a blog with fantastic content on it. When combined with retargeting and social promotion efforts (paid and organic), we will reach influencers who will naturally share and link to your content.
    • If you don’t have a blog on your website, this needs to be priority #1 over the next four weeks.
  • True outreach & relationship building.
    • We’ve recently brought on a gal who will be managing all high profile blogger and journalist relationships for our clients. She will be responsible for performing outreach, pitching stories, and offering up resources to produce great editorial pieces… not “guest blog posts”.
  • Digital asset creation and promotion.
    • We will continue to produce whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, videos, and other digital assets that will be used to secure links and social shares.

Lastly, we’re holistic in everything we do for you. We don’t rely on one strategy to drive traffic, engagement, and conversions. It’s just too risky. We leverage many different traffic acquisitions strategies and you’re better off for it. Here’s to 2014 and continued growth and revenue!