Turning Your Data Into Compelling Stories – SMX Advanced Recap

Want to know how to turn unorganized data into compelling presentations? Contributor Keri Morgret recaps three SMX Advanced speakers as they share how to transform data into valuable insights.

The post Turning Your Data Into Compelling Stories – SMX Advanced Recap appeared first on Marketing Land.

This session focused on using data-driven storytelling to support and promote paid search marketing campaigns.

Bill Hunt, Back Azimuth Consulting

Bill started the session by sharing experiences he’s had in trying to sell stories about his data. To be effective in telling stories with your data, the data must be adapted to your audience.

Executives tend to see things one way, and everyone else has the opposite view. Will you be presenting to people who need the big picture, or will you be presenting to people who will be implementing the details of the plan?

When you present the data, it needs to be obvious. You can’t assume that your audience can see your conclusions, and you don’t want to make them do mental math or connect a lot of dots on their own. Be explicit and connect key data points to missed opportunities and revenue.

The data also needs to show something cool and insightful or a business opportunity. In Hunt’s experience, people repeat the brief nuggets of information. Make sure the nuggets they remember and repeat are the ones you want them to remember and that they are appropriate for your audience.

Does the data contradict an existing belief, action or fact? If so, you need to figure out how to present the data so it can help change that belief. You may need to retell the story in a different way.

Your site search data can be a great source of information and data for storytelling, but be careful not to overwhelm people with that data; 600,000 rows of search queries won’t impress your audience — it will scare them instead.

That’s exactly what happened with Bill’s first client example. The client’s marketing team was overwhelmed by the data and how much content they thought would be needed to create answers to 27,000 questions from 600,000 entries.

In the end, they determined 6,500 pieces of content would be needed, which led to questions like “How can we create that much content?” and “Who is going to manage it all?”

On the other side of the hall, the management team was looking at how this data translated into money from a different angle:

  • How much revenue can we make if we create this content?
  • How fast can we get a return on investment (ROI)?
  • Whose revenue will be cannibalized (by users buying online instead of through other channels)?
  • How will lost revenue be tracked?

In the end, the two departments came together and determined a smaller amount of content was needed.  The marketing team created the content and generated a 22 percent immediate conversion and $10 million in incremental revenue over the next couple of years.

For another client,  Bill and his team took a vast amount of data (over a million keywords) and developed a content opportunity matrix.

This client is an alcoholic beverage manufacturer, so many of the searches were related to drinks. The team reviewed the keywords and focused on one segment of customers and their queries.

This segment of customers knew they wanted a drink, but they didn’t know exactly what drink they wanted. They were dubbed the “Cocktail Curious.”

The keywords came from multiple sources such as traffic to the website, site search, Google Search Console, Google Keyword Tool and more. Since there were over a million keywords, and Bill’s staff could not sort through them all, they created a pie chart of drink discovery colors that visually told the story of what people were searching for.

Bill recommends using searcher interest to drive content alignment, ensuring your data stories paint the right picture for the audience and don’t overcomplicate data.

Presentation deck: Maximizing Your Searcher Discovery Journal 

Maria Corcoran, Adobe

Maria addressed two important questions many of us have:

  • How do I get my ideas funded?
  • How can I use data to get those ideas funded?

Maria is on an in-house team of 32 in operations at Adobe. Her team is focused on knowing where the data is coming from and how to find the data. To be able to analyze the data, you need to understand the data sources.

As a strategist, she wants to know all of the details:

  • How much did that click cost?
  • What is the customer journey?
  • What is the bounce rate for a page?
  • What is the customer engagement level?

While the details are good, they will not get your idea funded.

Your ultimate goal is to get the C-suite on your side and happy with your ideas. They’re not looking at the strategist data, they want to see the bottom line.

You need to translate the data you have into what the executives want. They likely want to know revenue, conversion volume and retention. You’ll need to do your research to know what they want, so you can use your data to address what they need to make decisions.

You may have all the data in the world, but you may also only get one slide in a 60-slide presentation to convince the executives of the value of your project.

Below is an example of the one slide she used, with the proprietary company figures removed. You’ll want to keep using the same format for future updates, so people are familiar with your slide and know where to look for the data.

When she gave a report on the success of her projects, she removed a lot of the detailed data and kept a very high-level “we did what we said we were going to do for you” report for the executives. She focused on using visualizations, concise data points (but not overwhelming amounts) and looking at “what’s next.”

Maria’s #SMXInsights:

Presentation deck: Telling compelling stories with data – Get your ideas funded!

JD Prater, AdStage

JD kicked off his session by saying you shouldn’t make your reports so long and detailed that you’re the only one in the room who cares about the data. You don’t want to drive people away. Instead, JD asks us to think of reports like an ad.

How do you present the right metrics, for the right audience, in the right context?  Structure your PPC reports for Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), directors and managers, and give each a unique report.

You need to present your report so it can influence decisions. Data is past tense and should be used to influence what happens in the future.

CMOs

What does the CMO care about the most? Money! Why should you talk about click-through rate? You’re one line item in a whole array of things they need to look at.

We usually tell a long story that ends with a recommendation. You should instead start with the end recommendation, then work backward as needed.

The Minto structure of leading with the answer, giving a supporting argument, then giving the evidence of the argument can be great here. Sometimes you start with the answer, the CMO says yes, and you’re done!

 Directors

Directors use the contribution of your PPC campaign to the lead pipeline as their primary marketing performance metric. Start your presentation to them with how well you’ve done, and how much better you could be doing with X, Y and Z. Then back up your data. Avoid spreadsheets!

Managers
With managers, put your most important information first, then show trends, and show how this can affect the future plans. Here is where you want to include the details, break things down to the ad and campaign level.

JD’s #SMXInsights: 

Presentation deck: Paid search reports to influence business decisions


Want more info on Paid Search? Check out our comprehensive PPC Guide – nine chapters covering everything from account setup to automation and bid adjustments!


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Ask the #SMXpert: Smart B2B SEM Tactics

If you have a question on A/B split testing or are having challenges with ABM targeting on paid search, read on. Contributor Brad Geddes answers these questions and more in our continuing SMXpert series!

The post Ask the #SMXpert: Smart B2B SEM Tactics appeared first on Marketing Land.

The following is a continuation of the Q&A segment with moderator Brad Geddes from the “B2B SEM: Meeting Specific Challenges With Really Smart Tactics” session held during Search Marketing Expo (SMX) West 2018.

Intro

Challenges facing business to business (B2B) search advertising buyers are unique and include:

  • Finding enough search volume on technical, niche keywords.
  • Keeping clear of high-volume consumer-oriented keywords.
  • Attributing properly despite long sales cycles and conversions that frequently take place offline.

SMXpert Brad Geddes answered questions and shared some of his strategies and tactics for creating profitable B2B ad campaigns.

Question: Given the long sales cycle and not so much search volume, how do you run A/B split testing in B2B SEM?

Brad: There are two parts to ad testing in this scenario. The first is determining what to track (conversions). If the sale doesn’t happen for two years, then you might try looking at qualified leads. If a lead isn’t qualified for 12 months, then you might try leads and so on.

The goal is to get as close to a conversion as possible in a reasonable time frame. Generally, you want the conversion event to happen in seven to 30 days so that the data isn’t so stale that you’re taking action on old data.

Because you have low volume, you want to use multi-ad group testing. With multi-ad group testing, you can aggregate the data from patterns, lines, labels and so on across ad groups so that you have more data upon which to make decisions.

For instance, in B2B pay-per-click (PPC), there are usually a few main considerations for your headline:

  • Best call to action (CTA).
  • Ability to pre-qualify the audience.
  • Primary use benefit.

If you were working on call to action (CTA) testing, you could write two or three different CTAs and use them in all of your ad groups within that test segment.

You could then examine the data by CTA across ad groups to see which one has the best conversion per impression, and that would be your ad winner. Then you could repeat with other tests, lines and so forth.

Question: Let’s talk six-month-plus sales cycles. You don’t want to jam forms down people’s throats from the beginning, but simply spending money on awareness (via ungated content) doesn’t always look good in the eyes of executives. Any thoughts or ideas on this?

Brad: The advantage of ungated content is you push your content to more people and make it easily shareable and discoverable by search engines. The downside is that you collect fewer form fills early in the funnel.

The way we measure this is with attribution management.

For example, we can give away the content and put an email signup form for more info on the page. As people come back and fill out demo request forms or take a free trial or move to the next step of your process where you can count them as a qualified lead, we can use that piece of information as a conversion.

Once we have the qualified leads, then we can examine how well our ungated content is leading to qualified leads at some point in time. We can also do some high-level comparisons of time frames to each other to see if we have more total conversions.

When you use ungated content, your conversion rates might drop, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s that more people are discovering your content; so you might see total visitors increase, conversion rates drop and more total conversions increase.

That’s still an overall business win, even with a drop in conversion rates, as you received more total customers in the end.

Question: Our B2B accounts always have low Quality Scores. Does this matter, or should we just ignore Quality Scores?

Brad: This is a tricky question; we need to break the keywords into three types first:

  1. Brand.
  2. B2B only terms (buyer agent words, B2B intent and so on).
  3. Terms that can be B2B or business to consumer (B2C).

For your brand, you can still get 10s.

For your B2B only terms, you should be able to get a 6 to 10.

The terms that are ambiguous: safety gates, accounting, task management and so on are trickier, as they can be searched for by both consumers or businesses. This means your ad’s job is to pre-qualify users and to weed out B2C wasteful clicks so you are only attracting B2B clicks.

If you don’t pre-qualify your audience you might find you have lower conversion rates at higher quality scores and you are attracting too many B2C clicks:

Think about the Quality Score factors:

  • Expected CTR.
  • Ad relevance.
  • Landing page experience.

You can create a good landing page experience. Depending on the situation, ad relevance can be average or above average, depending on how you are trying to weed out B2C clicks.

However, you should not have an above-average expected click-through rate (CTR), as that means you are attracting B2C clicks. Usually, you’ll see your expected CTR as average or below average; and that’s OK if your goal is to weed out consumers.

Based on the Quality Score math, a 7 might be possible, but a 5 is much more likely.

When you have a 4, that means that you can improve the numbers, as this often indicates that your landing page experience has dropped.

While you shouldn’t make changes based solely upon Quality Score, in B2B, we usually aim for a 5 or 6 for the terms that can be B2B or B2C and start optimizing at a 4 or re-evaluating our metrics at a 7 just to make sure we aren’t getting too many B2C clicks.

Question:  What challenges have you experienced with ABM targeting on paid search?

Brad: When we think about just PPC for account-based marketing (ABM) and we’re ignoring LinkedIn and Facebook data, it’s impossible to only target an employee of a company outside of customer match.

So one of the top goals is to get enough email addresses from the targeted companies to use customer match. You can do that by targeting a very small radius around the company’s campuses, making white papers just for that company and so forth to bolster your customer relationship management (CRM) data.

Then you bring in the LinkedIn and Facebook targeting to help augment the total users, as with those platforms you can often narrow your targeting enough to only target a few companies, or even a single one in some cases.

Another way to help is to focus not just on a single company, but a company type, such as enterprise companies in the tech sector or medium-size financial companies (You’ll need more parameters than I listed).

Then you can also use similar lists to reach more people who are like-minded.

So with search, ABM = audience + keyword. The keywords you know, so the main focus is building the audience lists.

Have a question Brad didn’t cover?

Complete this form, and we’ll run your question and the SMXpert responses shortly!


Want more info on Paid Search? Check out our comprehensive PPC Guide – 9 chapters covering everything from account setup to automation and bid adjustments!

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SMX Advanced 2018 Session Recap: Storytelling with Social Ads that Sell

Contributor Joe Martinez recaps a session of rock-star paid social media marketers sharing how you can use social media to engage, entertain and motivate readers through the sales funnel.

The post SMX Advanced 2018 Session Recap: Storytelling with Social Ads that Sell appeared first on Marketing Land.

SMX Advanced attendees were treated to a rock-star lineup of paid social media marketers. Our presenters spoke to the crowd about how we should be using social media to engage users, move them down the funnel and give them the message they want to hear to increase brand interest.

Here’s a recap from the three speakers on the Storytelling With Social Ads That Sell session panel.

Jeff Ferguson

Jeff Ferguson was first up.

To set up the presentation, he went over a great analogy of creating cocktails. The difference between a Manhattan cocktail and a martini is one ingredient. The difference between a martini and a Gibson is one ingredient.

The message here is that sometimes all you have to do is change one little thing to get something new and amazing. The same idea can be applied to marketing. Maybe one little difference in your ad copy or one little way we tell a story can make a big impact on your campaigns.

Typically, we write content, and it sits there. Maybe we’ll promote it on social media, but many people don’t see these stories we spend a lot of time on. Let’s take our client’s information and use it appropriately for each stage of the content marketing funnel. Jeff then went on to show examples of how he utilizes this approach.

High funnel. For one client who focuses on meal kits for people with serious health concerns, Jeff and his team asked themselves:

  • What kind of post is a great introduction?
  • What posts can help get users into our funnel?

They found out the meal kit company had a lot of fantastic blog posts which were just sitting on the website with no major traffic. These posts, when finally promoted, led to a lot of user engagement, which was a win. They got the users to notice the brand and introduce them to the funnel.

Mid-funnel. Typically, this is where we see remarketing start to come in. We’re showing ads to users who are already familiar with our brand, even though it may be out of the corner of their eye. Focus the content on:

  • Testimonials.
  • Product comparisons.
  • Demonstrations
  • Before-and-after examples.

Consider using audiences of second touch, proven performers, content downloaders and engaged views from the high-funnel approach to keep moving those users along.

Low funnel. This is where we want to be more aggressive in asking for the sale. By the time users are at the bottom of the funnel, we start to really push the offer-driven message. By this point, they’ve seen your brand message at least two or three times, so it’s OK to start asking for the sale.

Going beyond the conversion. It’s typical in marketing to focus on the same thing, so we lose touch with everything. Not only do we want to get the sale, but we want to get those users to come back. We all should care about customer success. Jeff and his team like to look at the entire customer journey and see where they can come in and help out.

The problem with email after the journey is that email open rates are pretty bad, pretty horrible. We’re talking about a 21.8 percent average open rate. If other marketing channels had that type of success rate, we’d all be fired, right?

Customer match is a better option than email to take the user farther down the road. Take the user story farther down the road to keep feeding those users new stories until we hit your end goal.

Deciding what to communicate. Keeping in mind the same meal kit client mentioned earlier, audience exposure had a much better result over email. Jeff’s team found out that people who picked their own meals stayed on longer with the program. So they took the updated list of those specific users every week and showed new ads to this customer match audience.

Email rate was 56 percent. Audience exposure for search/social campaigns was 80 percent. The efforts increased meal selections by 50 percent and reduced churn by 20 percent.

Remember, none of these changes are big. Storytelling is about helping a prospect through the entire marketing funnel.

Presentation deck: Social Media Storytelling by Jeff Ferguson

Michelle Morgan

Next up was Michelle Morgan from Clix Marketing, who talked about bringing people back into the funnel.

When looking at a basic funnel, we typically see four steps:

As B2B marketers, our goal should be to turn the stereotypical “funnel” into a shape that makes it easier for users to slide down. How do we do this? Michelle breaks it down.

Make users come back happy. One of the worst things we can do to try and move users along the funnel is crappy remarketing.

For example, let’s say you were trying to get users to download a white paper in your initial campaign. What if they don’t convert off the white paper? Don’t remarket to users who didn’t visit the confirmation page for the past 90 days. Break the audiences down into lower cookie durations. Change your CTA as the time decay flows. Have a firm CTA in the initial 30 days, but soften it after 90 days. Test this same strategy with your offers, too. Try different content (e-book vs. white paper) to see if that makes a difference.

Moving down the funnel. If you’re not doing lead scoring, you’re missing out. Michelle had some great examples of creating a point system with a set threshold to move users down your strategy. Come up with a system where the user maintains a certain “worth” during an agreed upon time duration to know which audience the user actually belongs to, and how they should be marketed.

Push users to new content they may not have seen before. Also, move users away from content they have already seen to avoid annoying people with the same message over and over. For users with too low a score, depending on your scoring system, create new lists and re-engage through other marketing channels.

Closing the deal. Win back stalled opportunities with specialized messaging. Sometimes people are deep in the funnel but get stuck for some reasons we can’t easily understand. LinkedIn Sponsored InMail is great. Users only see one ad in their InMail once every 45 days, so you don’t have to worry about bugging users.

Using the LinkedIn ad, offer something they can’t get anywhere else.

Act like a sales rep and work within your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Don’t stop at contacts, look at business targeting. People leave companies all the time, so target the business on LinkedIn, which will be far more accurate than any company targeting on Facebook.

The story is for users. Keep the users’ end goal in mind instead of your own. It’s okay to pick an emotion so your ads don’t seem stuffy. Graphics are great for content, while real-world images are better suited for non-content.

Carousel ads let the person pick the story or let your customers tell the actual story with testimonials.

Presentation deck: Back to the Funnel: Winning Back B2B Users in Social

Susan Wenograd

Last but not least was Susan Wenograd.

“The Princess Bride” fans rejoiced when Susan mentioned she was going to show why Inigo Montoya is the perfect storyteller, and how he can help your business. Many brands think all storytelling is going to be great. They assume every story they tell is going to surprise and delight their audience. We see many brands tell stories that only talk about themselves and assume users are going to want to buy just based on a brand story.

Ask the user to find out (without asking). Think about what Inigo would do if you asked him a question, and he’d start rambling on about a bunch of facts just like a feature-based ad. Susan had a client who was running a lot of feature-based ads showcasing what the product does, the technology behind it and so on. Very stat-based, right?

Average click-through rate (CTR) for these ads was 1.2 percent. When looking at the assets the client had, Susan noticed users always seemed to be skeptical initially. Once the users found out about how great the product was, they had no problem admitting they were wrong. Susan asked, “Why weren’t we running this in the ad copy?” She ditched all the benefits-and-features ad copy and used a customer-made video echoing her discoveries.

The story-based ad copy quantifies belonging to a community. CTR doubled and helped inform how to improve more than just ads. The new approach also informed how to improve landing page design.

Use what’s memorable and don’t fight it. Do you remember the name of the six-fingered man in “The Princess Bride?” Of course you don’t, you just remember that he’s the six-fingered man. (His name is Count Rogen, in case you really wanted to know).

Brands feel they know what story to tell, but people will be the ones to dictate what story you should be telling.

Consumers control the story, not the brand. Find out what people are searching for and use that in your marketing. Consider creating new landing pages that actually speak to what your users are calling your products or services. Then use those landing page visits as the proper page to create Facebook audiences and then lookalike audiences for a better higher-funnel strategy.

Sometimes, you just can’t run. In a different strategy, Susan had a client who was the face of a new company, while also being well-known from his previous company. Even though the client wanted to separate himself from the old company, he was the six-fingered man. He was the story. They started making “helpful tip” webisodes featuring Susan’s client to leverage his notoriety. Instead of running video views, they tried post engagements after seeing people were naturally engaging due to the story content.

CPMs went from over $5.00 to under $3.90. They focused on the story versus what the company does and saw results improve.

Our brains are crushed with information daily. Ask Inigo Montoya who he is, and he’ll tell you over and over and over:

Hello. I am Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

It may be repetitive, but fans of the movies know the quote by heart because they’ve heard it so many times. In marketing, it’s okay for storytelling to repeat the same information more than once. Why? Check this out.

We have to repeat the story, and more importantly, repeat it in multiple places. This type of thinking is going to be extremely important when no one is searching for your brand or products. Susan said it best: “The only way to expand search is to expand the people who will search for your brand.” When you tell your brand story long enough, your language will become your customers’.

Presentation deck: The Inigo Montoya Guide to Storytelling in Paid Social

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Attention + intensity: Tips for navigating the new age of media strategy

Contributor Mark Williams says marketers must evolve the metrics they monitor to keep up with the changing media-consumption environment.

The post Attention + intensity: Tips for navigating the new age of media strategy appeared first on Marketing Land.

As marketers and brands have seen, the prevalence of digital video has transformed how consumers access media and content.

Essentially, video is not the future, it’s the “now”.

According to Cisco, global IP video traffic will represent 82 percent of all consumer internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 percent in 2016. Consumers no longer want to read about a brand  — they want to visualize it.

In 2018 and beyond, we’ll see a big shift from before, when advertisers were looking to buy reach and frequency with traditional media, to now, where advertisers will want to capitalize on intensity through the maximum amount of reach and frequency. In a post-pivot-to-video world, it’s time to change your video and media strategy, especially how you measure it.

To tackle all of the changes and innovations in media and digital marketing within the past few years, and especially to gear you up for the further integration of video, here are three tips for navigating the new age of media strategy.

1. Measure your audience with intensity

Rethink your approach to measurement. It’s not just about clicks and views. Viewability and reach are no longer the main indicators of success because they don’t measure how an audience is connecting with the content.

Instead, track deeper actions. Update your key performance indicators (KPIs) with different engagement metrics, such as watch time, engagements, earned metrics and follower acquisition, to track whether or not your intended audience actually viewed your message and reacted to it.

Watch time is one of the most valuable metrics to track in order to gauge whether or not audiences are actually watching your content. It’s also the most important factor for platform algorithms. If you track minutes watched, retention rate and the average percentage of those who watched through, you’ll have a better idea of how you are captivating the audience’s attention, and at what level of intensity.

Tracking engagements (e.g., likes, shares and comments) is also a key indicator of your strategy’s performance. Engagements and engagement rates indicate that fans are making a decision beyond simply watching your content. If they’re sharing, starting up a conversation, or compelled by a call to action from the content, you can measure the intensity with which your audience is consuming the material.

Also, be sure to watch your follower/subscriber acquisition. Growing a fan base is essential to the marketing efforts of advertisers, and it is important to identify what content brings in new followers so that you can focus your content strategy to consider these insights.

2. Rethink content strategy: Transform ads + make content relevant

Given the prevalence of ad blockers, it’s clear that interruptive advertising doesn’t work anymore. Instead, we’re seeing high performance through integrated brand messages. To do this, make your content relevant to your consumer.

Embed your campaign initiatives into publisher sites through partnerships to make for a smoother and natural integration of your advertising.

Consider integrating with influencers. Research conducted by Fullscreen (my employer) and MediaScience found that the percentage of viewers who would recommend a brand after watching a branded video from an influencer was 13 percent higher than the percentage for a TV ad.

Test different content strategies to see what resonates best with your audience, and for a more specific segmented analysis, A/B test different interest sets and demographics to inform your marketing plan.

3. Tailor by platform

To keep your marketing strategy specific and efficient, optimize content and advertising to reflect the platform. Utilize metadata by making campaigns that align with proper titling and tagging across all of your platforms. Keep your branding design consistent to ensure that your content is distinguishable. Ensure that your creative is designed for the specific tech specs of the platform where it will live.

Gone are the days of the one-size-fits-all approach. Facebook creative must be treated differently from Snapchat and so on. Perhaps most importantly, the creative must feel endemic to the platform — which explains why repurposed television commercials have some of the lowest engagement metrics.

Identify and maintain a consistent publishing schedule that is tailored to times when platforms reach the highest number of eyes, not only to maximize viewership and engagement but also to help consumers know when to expect your content.

Further, aim to promote circular traffic: Utilize the platforms through their available interactive elements so that you can cross-promote across all channels.

When tailoring your content for specific platforms, you also want to pay attention to how the platform is accessed.

Take a look at the platform functions, according to recent data from each platform and Statista, YouTube is accessed 50 percent of the time on mobile, whereas Facebook is at 95.1 percent and Instagram is at 100 percent.

This means that when creating content for YouTube, you should pay equal attention to mobile and desktop access, whereas Facebook and Instagram should lean more heavily toward mobile usage.

In closing

You’ll want to keep these three tips at the forefront of your digital marketing and content strategy so that you quickly adapt your brand to the changing video and media environments of today.

Remember, the overarching difference in paid media targeting online versus traditional targeting is the more refined, specific targeting of individuals, which ultimately leads to higher attention and intensity, as well as greater returns.

With all of these advancements, online media has many new metrics which you absolutely must utilize to expand your reach and retention far beyond that of traditional paid media.

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