Tag Archive for: Digital Marketing

SEO is Not Dead; It’s Just a Shape-Shifter

I’m so tired of hearing various pundits say that SEO is dead. Maybe they are merely being provocative. Perhaps they need to fill seats in their event, and so they come up with “bait” session titles like “Why SEO is fundamentally DEAD.” (Yes, that was actually a keynote title at a very popular conference last year.) Or maybe they drank their own Kool-Aid and really believe this nonsense.

While SEO is NOT dead, the way that you’re doing it might be. Does the following describe your approach? You’ve optimized your H1s and meta tags and you’ve built a few (hopefully white hat) links. Now you just sit back and watch your site rise to the top of Google, right?

Wrong. This sort of cookie-cutter approach to SEO — one that equates SEO to tuning a guitar or to following the steps to a pumpkin pie recipe — rarely works in today’s search landscape.

Traditional SEO is dead

It’s human to want a repeatable formula to achieve a goal. The bad news is that there is no precise formula to SEO anymore. Sure, there are best practices, and a skilled SEO practitioner can greatly increase the chances of a good outcome. But we live in a world that comes with no guarantees — especially where SEO is concerned.

Of course, there have never really been any absolute guarantees when it comes to SEO. You should run away screaming from any SEO practitioner who promises one.

But for years, many operated under the illusion that if we just tweaked our title tags a little more and got just one more link, we would be rewarded with a higher ranking.

So if we aren’t able to predict an outcome from our optimization efforts, do I agree with those pundits who say that SEO must be dead?

In a way, yes. SEO in the traditional sense is dead. Outsmarting the search engines will no longer be feasible for most. But SEO does still exist, just in an evolved form.

To understand what SEO is today, let’s look at how we got here.

The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning in search

Remember how Google Panda shook the SEO world? Panda was released on February 23, 2011, impacting up to 12 percent of search results. Some aspects of Panda were easy to understand — the notion of thin content, for example. But other aspects were quite subtle.

Panda was the introduction to machine learning for many in the SEO industry. Google had gathered ratings from humans on the perceived quality of a website based on a set of questions. The engineers at Google then applied machine learning algorithms to extend those subjective human opinions to the rest of the web, and Google Panda was born.

It’s one thing to tweak a title tag to have a better keyword. It’s quite another thing to ask yourself whether the page will be judged as delivering a high-quality experience.

Malcolm Gladwell suggests in his book, “Blink,” that humans judge quality literally in the blink of an eye. These snap judgments, including whether a website looks “shady” or “trustworthy,” come from the gut level. It’s extremely difficult to “game” a judgment that comes from the human subconscious.

Then, on September 26, 2013, Google took artificial intelligence to another level by announcing that Hummingbird, a major rewrite of the core search algorithm, had been released. Not since the Caffeine update had there been such a significant reworking of Google’s machinery.

Most of us SEO practitioners have seen the evidence of the Panda algorithm and its spammy link penalizing counterpart, Penguin, starkly staring back at us in Google Analytics in the form of a major organic traffic drop. But when it came to Hummingbird, for most sites, there was no obvious impact. Yet when Matt Cutts said Hummingbird affected 90 percent of all searches (compare this to Panda’s 12 percent), it was clear something big had happened. But what?

“OK Google” shepherds in semantic search

A clue had come in the form of a Google demonstration of hands-free conversational search at Google I/O: the “OK Google” voice command.

It was thrilling to see we were one step closer to realizing a Star Trekkian future where we could speak to our machines using natural, everyday language, and they would not only understand us but also answer back.

But under the covers, to handle conversational queries correctly, search engines like Google needed to understand the intent of the query, not just the words in it.

We had made the leap from “words” to “concepts.” Understanding the meaning behind words, as well as the relationships between the words in a given topic, is known as semantic search.

If this ability to understanding meaning and intent behind words is not “artificial intelligence,” I don’t know what is. Google Now is only the beginning. We’ll soon be talking to our computers more than we will be typing at them.

And search continues to evolve. Last year, Google announced it had released RankBrain, which is machine learning that helps Google understand and process search queries. RankBrain has been particularly useful to Google in long-tail queries, which are often conversational and new to Google. Even today, 15 percent of search queries entered into Google are new searches never seen before. RankBrain is being run across 100 percent of all Google search queries; it’s become pervasive.

RankBrain is another step in the evolution of the true realization of semantic search.

With semantic search, Google can understand what an article is about. We see evidence of this when articles rank for keywords that are not found anywhere in the article (or in anchor text pointing to the article). One simple example of this is the search for “internet marketing,” which returns Quick Sprout’s guide to online marketing in the number one position. The word “internet” is not found anywhere in the guide.

So if you can rank for a keyword without having it in your title tag or in any of the usual optimization targets (such as the URL and H1), how much does on-page optimization really matter?

Title tag correlation with higher rankings is smaller than expected

In a recent study that analyzed one million Google search results, Backlinko found that the correlation between a given keyword in the title tag and the ranking for the search with that keyword was much smaller than expected.

It used to be important in SEO to have an exact matching keyword (or at least close to it) in a title tag in order to rank for that particular search query. What the Backlinko study illustrated is that Google is now significantly better at understanding the context of your page, and thus you don’t need to be explicit with the keyword you’re targeting, especially if your content clearly discusses the related entities involved in the topic.

It’s all about “entities”

What do I mean by “entities?” Let’s take an example. If you have an article on list building, it’s likely that the keyword “list building” would appear, but it is also likely that terms related to list building would also be present in the article, such as “subscribers” and “email.” These terms are relevant to our topic of list building, s0 it’s reasonable to expect them to be in our article.

We know that “email” adds specificity to “list building.” For example, it further defines the type of list (it’s not a Facebook audience). So “list building” and “email” have a relationship which creates meaning beyond just the words. So in the search industry we use the term “entities” to describe these “things” that have a meaning and often have a real-life existence and relationships with other entities.

Incidentally, this may be why longer-form content is performing better in organic search today, because the content describes more fully the topic and has more of the related entities present.

My favorite new tool for exploring entities and relationships between topics is Searchmetrics’ new Topic Explorer, which I demonstrated live last week at Pubcon in the Advanced Keyword Research session. Since Google has gone beyond keywords into entities, we too need to go beyond traditional “keyword research” into “entity research.”

Key takeaways

Winning at SEO today is not about figuring which buttons to push. Once you have done the technical due diligence to make your site Google-friendly, you need to put on your marketer’s hat and give up the old school SEO “tactics” that used to work but don’t anymore.

Yes, title tags should have keywords and should be written to entice the user to click through, but you no longer need to worry about getting the keyword precisely right. And it goes without saying that keyword stuffing your tags is not a valid practice, nor has it ever been.

Instead, focus on the experience of your site: How can you make it better?

Get deep into the mind of your ideal visitor and figure what makes them tick. What are their frustrations? What are they looking for? You need to solve for your user, not for the search engine.

Your focus should be on creating remarkable content that is clearly head and shoulders above its competitors, and then on getting users to rabidly consume and share that content.

Content has always been important with SEO. Now more than ever, extraordinary and noteworthy content that creates a conversation or adds massive value to existing conversations is an essential prerequisite to successful SEO.

“SEO is dead. Long live SEO!”

References: Search Engine Land.

The 7 Best Ad and Landing Page Elements to Boost Online Conversions

When it comes to success with paid search, it’s not just about ad copy. You have to pay attention to your ad extensions and your landing pages as well.

In this article, Mona Elesseily from Search Engine Land discusses the specific ad features and page elements that searchers/shoppers want when they’re shopping online. She also covers ways to also incorporate the elements using PPC/paid search.

1. Images

Seventy-eight percent of shoppers want images.

Shoppers respond well to images. It’s the reason Google has been and is continuing to increase the number of images we see on search engine results pages (SERPs). It’s also the reason good online retailers allow us to zoom in and view products from different angles.

An awesome way to increase the number of images in the SERPs is to use product listing ads (if applicable). We love how product ads allow us to take up space and show more than one product in the shopping pack. We like adding ad annotations like price drop alerts (in Bing), merchant badges and product ratings to make ads pop even more and grab buyer attention.

Focusing on feeds now will pay dividends in the future, as shopping feeds will likely appear in more places in the SERPs (Think image search and local ad units), and feed-based advertising will become much more commonplace. It’s a good idea to prep for opportunities that will come along in the not-too-distant future.

2. Product reviews

Sixty-nine percent of shoppers want product reviews.

It’s a great idea to have them on your site and also to incorporate them into PPC ads using review extensions. Review extensions are finicky, as there are lots of search engine policies related to posting “accurate and current” reviews. It’s not uncommon to have ads disapproved a few times before they get approved.

It’s worth noting that reviews can be no more than 12 months old to appear in Google Trusted Stores, and hence, review extensions. Consistently ask customers to review products, so that review extensions (and seller ratings, for that matter) will continue to appear in your account.

3. Side-by-side product comparisons

Forty-six percent of shoppers want side-by-side product comparisons.

These are effective ways to compare your company products or to compare your product against the products of competitors. Graph or table format tends to be the easiest to read and allows shoppers to better digest information.

Here’s an example from Phillips and some of their natural light wake-up lights:

http://searchengineland.com/figz/wp-content/seloads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-02-at-11.34.27-PM-800x472.png

Personally, I like to highlight (or badge) the most popular product. Badging is very effective in improving online conversions, and I’ve seen increases of more than 20 percent when tables include a badge. In the example below, the pro version of the product is the most popular and is denoted using the color blue.

http://searchengineland.com/figz/wp-content/seloads/2016/10/Screen-Shot-2016-10-02-at-11.39.19-PM-800x378.png

This example would have been even better if the blue column were marked “best seller” (or similar wording).

4. Customer testimonials

Forty-two percent of shoppers want customer testimonials.

I find these very useful, especially if there’s a striking difference between you and your competitors.

I work with a company that manufactures a product that’s more expensive than their competitor’s product. Their testimonials highlight other benefits and do an effective job of making the extra cost negligible. The “negative” is offset by the awesome knowledge and customer service.

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-12-07-27-am

Testimonials effectively encourage people to bite the bullet because they know their overall experience will be good and that they’ll be thrilled with their purchase.

5. Video product demos

Thirty percent of shoppers want video product demos.

This is especially true if the product is complicated or hard to understand. For example, let’s say you sell car replacement parts, and the parts are tricky to install. Here’s an example of videos from 1aauto.com.

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-12-17-30-am

In PPC, video extensions are a good option to consider. At this point, these are only available in Bing.

6. Live chat with shopping assistant

Twenty-two percent of shoppers want live chat with a shopping assistant.

A good option for this is the ActionLink extension in Bing. We’ve seen higher ad engagement as a result of including this, especially in industries where people have a lot of questions, like home renovations.

7. Links to media coverage of company products

Nine percent of shoppers want links to media coverage of company products.

On sites, people often include “as seen on” and other such credibility indicators. Be sure to also include links to media coverage. I test short video clips of the media coverage on pages. Sometimes, having clips in addition to links to media coverage boosts conversions.

 

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog – Penguin is now part of our core algorithm

Google’s algorithms rely on more than 200 unique signals or “clues” that make it possible to surface what you might be looking for. These signals include things like the specific words that appear on websites, the freshness of content, your region and PageRank. One specific signal of the algorithms is called Penguin, which was first launched in 2012 and today has an update.

After a period of development and testing, Google are now rolling out an update to the Penguin algorithm in all languages. Here are the key changes you’ll see, which were also among webmasters’ top requests to them:

  • Penguin is now real-time. Historically, the list of sites affected by Penguin was periodically refreshed at the same time. Once a webmaster considerably improved their site and its presence on the internet, many of Google’s algorithms would take that into consideration very fast, but others, like Penguin, needed to be refreshed. With this change, Penguin’s data is refreshed in real time, so changes will be visible much faster, typically taking effect shortly after we recrawl and reindex a page. It also means Google aren’t going to comment on future refreshes.
  • Penguin is now more granular. Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.

The web has significantly changed over the years, but webmasters should be free to focus on creating amazing, compelling websites. It’s also important to remember that updates like Penguin are just one of more than 200 signals Google use to determine rank.

For more information on the above changes and how it benefits you, contact an Onimod Global Digital Marketing expert today.

Top 3 Digital Marketing Tips to Earn More Traffic to Your Website

We’ve all heard the statistics and reports on how search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical focus point for businesses on the internet. Setting a perfect stage for customers to come in and patronize your business in the form of a great website design is not just enough to make your business successful. You need several customer attraction points that can deliver not only the right quantity of referrals to your business but will also direct targeted, ready-to-buy customers to your business.

Social media may take the lead in website traffic referral for business on the internet, but what is undeniable is that search is still the leading source of the most targeted customers on the internet.

While this fact is known to most digital marketers, many are unable to recommend the right steps needed to attract qualified leads to their clients’ businesses.

This article will explore methods your business can use to make better gains through the search engine and improve sales.

Get on Google My Business

With Google’s increasing advancement in listing businesses along relevant search results, digital marketers and business owners are seeing better opportunities to get listed and be showcased directly to their customers.

Google My Business offers businesses with a brick-and-mortar presence the ability to get their business’ opening hour, phone number and location displayed to customers in search results and on Google Maps.

What’s more impressive is the “view office” feature that allows potential customers to take a virtual tour of your office without leaving Google or their seat. This will offer businesses several benefits which include increased trust and confidence in customers that have taken the virtual tour.

Use the instructions on Google My Business by Google to get started on setting your business up for the listing.

Encourage User Review

A lot of reports have shown that users who read reviews on your website, whether the customer reviews are negative or positive, will be highly likely to consider making a purchase from your website. Even leading digital marketing experts agree that using customer reviews on your website can enhance trust and transparency in your business.

The best performing businesses have customers leave reviews on their websites so that potential buyers understand that they are dealing with trusted entities.

There are several ways to encourage your customers to leave a review on your website. Being creative and open about the process will make them feel more comfortable to share their experience doing business with you and thus encourage others to come aboard.

Take Advantage of Off-Page Optimization

Off-page SEO is an important aspect of search optimization that businesses can take advantage of and get increased presence on top search results. While most businesses concentrate most of their resources on on-page efforts, signals like links, citations, and references on other websites are very credible ranking signals that Google considers.

In a comprehensive list that tries to share most of Google’s ranking factors, Brian Dean places the off-page optimizations efforts among the signals that Google’s algorithm considers when ranking a website.

Search engines have always been a very important aspect of digital marketing. This makes it critical for businesses to get search engine optimization right.

Onimod Global offers large agency services with boutique client interaction. Let us evaluate your companies digital efforts at no extra cost. Contact us today for a complimentary evaluation of your business.

Ref: Huffington Post. Google Business. Onimod Global.

9 Must-See Digital Marketing Stats From the Past Week

It was an unusually good week in digital marketing stats, with some numbers proving to be surprising and others mind-boggling.

The following nine stats in particular caught our eye:

1. The pumpkin spice cometh
Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes have become a fall tradition in Instagram marketing, and this year appears to be no different. On the mobile app, per Spredfast, there have been more than 731,000 posts tagged with #pumpkin—already, two weeks before the autumnal equinox—related to the drink and another 468,000 are labeled with #PSL. Moreover, Starbucks’ pumpkin spice lattes receive 493 percent more likes per photo than shots tagged with #Starbucks.

2. Halfway to $1 trillion
Advertising will grow to $548.2 billion globally this year, up by $23 billion or 4.4 percent compared with 2015, according to Carat, the Dentsu Aegis-owned media agency.

The growth is primarily being pushed by digital, which will jump far higher than the rest of the marketplace, seeing a year-over-year lift of nearly 16 percent, per Carat’s forecast. The agency, which looked at 59 markets across continents, also predicted that digital advertising will see a year-over-year boost of 14 percent in 2017.

3. A cold, hard cash unicorn
Snapchat will be a big part of that digital explosion, as it will hit nearly $1 billion in ad revenue by the end of 2017, according to eMarketer. The Venice, Calif.,-based company has shown the ad-tech world that millennials and Gen Z consumers prefer vertical video, which will drive the gains eMarketer predicts.

4. Facebook copies Snapchat
And such Snapchat success is exactly why Facebook’s vertical video ads went live one week ago today. Laundry Service jumped on the format for its clients LG, Hennessy and a few others. The agency’s CEO, Jason Stein, said that the CPM rates were three times “more efficient for vertical video than square video so far.” 

5. Catching up with Spotify
This week’s annual Apple event brought few surprises for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch fans. Though it was interesting to learn that Apple Music had reached 17 million paid subscribers, an increase of 2 million from just a couple months ago. Comparatively, Spotify has roughly 39 million paying subscribers, so Apple still has some catching up to do.

6. Podvertising
Sixty-five percent of listeners said podcast ads increase purchase intent while another 45 percent said that they’re likely to visit an advertiser’s website after hearing an audio promo, per a report from the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edison Research.

7. AI startups gain traction
Artificial intelligence isn’t just about Microsoft, IBM, Google and Amazon anymore. Case in point: Strike Social. Launched in 2013, the Chicago-based shop expects revenue this year to jump by three times to $100 million compared to last year. It uses artificial intelligence to drive social advertising campaigns that generate bigger engagement and, in theory, greater return on investment.

8. Facebook shows it’s good to be king—but only most of the time
Industry sources estimate the platform’s right-hand-rail ads have a CPM of $1.08, with 95.8 billion desktop impressions each month. ReviveAds, an ad-block-prevention tool, calculates 15 billion ads were blocked in Q2, costing Facebook $32.4 million in lost inventory each month.

9. Foodies win @social
Food bloggers have four times the number of social media followers compared to other categories in the blogosphere.

Ref: Adweek

How Google Search is Helping Users Easily Access Content on Mobile

In Google Search, their goal is to help users quickly find the best answers to their questions, regardless of the device they’re using. Today, they’re announcing two upcoming changes to mobile search results that make finding content easier for users.

Simplifying mobile search results

Two years ago, they added a mobile-friendly label to help users find pages where the text and content was readable without zooming and the tap targets were appropriately spaced. Since then, they’ve seen the ecosystem evolve and they recently found that 85% of all pages in the mobile search results now meet this criteria and show the mobile-friendly label. To keep search results uncluttered, they’ll be removing the label, although the mobile-friendly criteria will continue to be a ranking signal. Google said “We’ll continue providing the mobile usability report in Search Console and the mobile-friendly test to help webmasters evaluate the effect of the mobile-friendly signal on their pages.”

Helping users find the content they’re looking for

Although the majority of pages now have text and content on the page that is readable without zooming, Google recently seen many examples where these pages show intrusive interstitials to users. While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content may be visually obscured by an interstitial. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.

Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.

Here are some examples of techniques that make content less accessible to a user:

  • Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.
  • Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.
  • Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.

Examples of interstitials that make content less accessible


An example of an intrusive popup

An example of an intrusive standalone interstitial

Another example of an intrusive standalone interstitial

 

By contrast, here are some examples of techniques that, used responsibly, would not be affected by the new signal:

  • Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.
  • Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.
  • Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.

Examples of interstitials that would not be affected by the new signal, if used responsibly


An example of an interstitial for cookie usage

An example of an interstitial for age verification

An example of a banner that uses a reasonable amount of screen space

 

Google previously explored a signal that checked for interstitials that ask a user to install a mobile app. As they continued our development efforts, they saw the need to broaden our focus to interstitials more generally. Accordingly, to avoid duplication in our signals, Google removed the check for app-install interstitials from the mobile-friendly test and have incorporated it into this new signal in Search.

Remember, this new signal is just one of hundreds of signals that are used in ranking. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.

 

 

H/T: Google Webmaster

The 10+ biggest things to happen in PPC so far in 2016

Big text ad changes, a revival of device bidding and LinkedIn possibilities are among the announcements that hold big implications for search marketers. Read more

Your Business Needs a Digital Marketing Agency

Marketing your business on the internet is different than any other type of marketing. There are dozens of concepts, technologies, terminologies, and rules to learn before you even get started. What’s more, the types of advertisements available to you are new and foreign to some that hasn’t been in the business for a hundred years.

A digital marketing agency that offers a full suite of services is the best way to go if you want to make sure you get the results you expect from your online marketing efforts. And if you don’t believe me, just wait.

Product Knowledge

Many digital marketing agencies specialize in only one product: delivering results for businesses. The tools, metrics, technologies, and terminologies that are so perplexing to you are the life blood of our business. They work to help you identify and then meet your performance goals, including leads, sales, customer acquisition, traffic, and customers.

These are the elements that help you define success for your business and they have deep product knowledge about how to achieve them on behalf of your business.

Unique Business Structure

If you can find a company that offers customers the benefit of their own programmatic buying platform, you will be on your way to a success. This means that in addition to creating a strategy to help you achieve your goals, you will also enjoy the implementation of that strategy and the actual purchasing of advertisement views via our real time bidding platform.

In other words, a unique business structure will allow you to experience results oriented traffic generation, sales conversions, and more.

How Digital Marketing Helps Your Startup

The Internet is constantly evolving. That’s a great thing for businesses that operate on the cutting edge of these new technologies. When you use a platform for purchasing display advertising, you also have the ability to immediately change bids, adjust strategies, split test, and adjust ad buys on the go – in real time. This gives you the distinct advantage of seeing what is and isn’t working as you go and changing your ad buys to more effective advertisements that are reaching your target audience. It gives you a very real advantage of competitors who have not yet embraced this technology.

Simply put, a digital marketing agency helps you get bigger, better, and faster results from your advertising dollars. They do this by sharing the value of their expertise, the ease of their system, and the technology that brings these things together for even more effective marketing.

Who We Are

We are a Chicago based Digital Marketing & Consulting firm. Our digital marketing strategies increase your online reach, strengthen your brand equity, help achieve stronger business results and generate greater profitability.

Our approach is based around working with your company on an ongoing basis to adapt and stay ahead of your competition in an ever-changing digital marketplace. We combine experienced talent with world-class technologies to efficiently create digital marketing programs that truly perform.

Digital Marketing across multiple platforms allows us to create visibility for your company in the places your customers are searching, interacting and engaging on the internet.

Onimod Global is an official Google Partner. The Google Partner badge means that Google trusts our agency. It also shows our clients are happy and that we follow Google best practices.

What We Do

Digital Synergy is about having visibility in the places your consumer needs you. Every search request is an opportunity; each action on a social site is an opportunity. Having the correct brand, product or service positioning is essential.

Our cross-channel digital marketing expertise, data analysis, precise construction and execution of successful digital marketing campaigns make sure your brand meets the consumer when and where they need them.

Every company has a myriad of unique factors; yours included. Learning a company’s core attributes, processes and initiatives allows us to create dynamic data driven digital marketing solutions that offer marked returns. Contact us today to find out more.

SEO, SEM, Social, Email, Website, User Behavior, Analysis, Testing, Programming, Reporting. Synergy. Onimod Global.

Search Marketing Company

Ref: TechCo

 

9 Interesting Digital Marketing Stats From the Past Week

The last several days were full of intriguing and surprising data points from the world of digital marketing.

Below appear 9 numbers that caught our eye:

1. Quietly killing it on Facebook
Whisper, which has nearly 2.3 million fans on Facebook, regularly garners between 10,000 likes and 40,000 likes for posts on the social site, a rep for the anonymity app said. For instance, click here to see how one of its confessional-styled memes got big engagement on Thursday.

The company, located in Venice, Calif., doesn’t buy ads to get such results—all the action is organic. Look for an upcoming Adweek story about how Whisper’s tech team has mastered Facebook’s algorithm.

2. Messenger added 100 million users in last three months
Facebook Messenger now has 900 million monthly users, up from 800 million in January, according to Facebook.

3. Kendall’s social kingdom
Influencer.DB, an Instagram analytics firm, said that reality TV star and social media juggernaut Kendall Jenner gains nearly 100,000 followers a day on Instagram. Interestingly, she does best in Germany, which is home to 21 percent of her followers, Influencer.DB said. Meanwhile, the tech vendor also stated that just 7 percent of Jenner’s Instagram followers are in the United States.

4. Insta-hot rod
Mercedes-Benz has been kicking its Instagram game into fifth gear in recent months. For instance, the post below—seen on the car brand’s global account—on Thursday attracted 74,000 likes in its first three hours. And that’s relatively normal for the marketer.

ScreenShot

5. A social commerce close-up
In the last three months, e-commerce vendor Custora crunched data about $100 billion in sales among 500 million shoppers and found that only 1.5 percent of retailers’ last-click e-commerce transactions came via social media. Within that sliver of activity, Facebook dominated 81 percent of sales, while shopping-centric Pinterest generated 10.8 percent and Instagram, YouTube and Twitter collectively yielded 5.2 percent.

6. Ad fraud problems
DataXu’s new report said that the rate of fraudulent digital ads fall anywhere in between 17 percent and 30 percent on networks and exchanges. That declaration follows up a joint study by the Association of National Advertisers and White Ops in January that predicted digital ad fraud would cost the industry $7.2 billion this year.

7. Marketers signal confidence
The Economist Intelligence Unit, a research division for The Economist, and software giant Marketo teamed for a new study, which revealed that 86 percent of marketers believe they will own the end-to-end customer experience by 2020.

8. Email laziness
According to a study by digital marketing company Adestra, 80 percent of consumers unsubscribe from emails they no longer want to get. Here’s another way of looking at it: A good chunk of folks (20 percent) are too lazy—or busy, to be fair—to take themselves off a list.

9. The search for March Madness
Per tech company HookLogic, basketball-based online searches via its network of e-commerce websites, including Walmart, Target, Sears and Kohl’s, jumped 35 percent during the heart of March Madness this year, compared to the days before the NCAA tourney began.

Bonus stat: Taylor-made power
On April 1, pop songstress Taylor Swift posted a funny spot for Apple on her social accounts, showing her working out. Last weekend, iTunes sales of the song featured in the ad, Drake’s “Jumpman,” skyrocketed 431 percent globally. On Instagram alone, the 1-minute clip has received 1.4 million likes and 153,000 comments.

H/T: Adweek. Getty Images.

Why Digital Marketing Trends May Require You To Hire A Digital Marketing Agency

The digital marketing world is ever fluid, always dynamic and never dull, especially to the ever growing need to grow that CMO constantly faces. This is in part due to the emergence of new trends that are fundamentally changing the way marketers and brands reach out to potential customers. This changing landscape is essentially urging all players to step outside their comfort zone in order to attract high quality leads.

Outside of their comfort zone, traditional digital marketers are faced with a series of challenging tasks. From understanding the need to market across cross-platform devices and channels, to running customer-segmentation based messaging campaigns, these and other digital marketing trends are defining the future of marketing.

While there are plenty of growth hacking techniques available to CMOs and other marketing leaders, it might make sense to rely on an occasional helping hand.

Indeed, to help make sense of marketing trends and to capitalize on what they may mean for your business, consider hiring a third-party digital marketing agency to meet the demands and deadlines of your digital marketing to-do list.

But why would a CMO need to use an external digital marketing agency? The following points should give you some insights.

1. Stay Industry-Relevant

For starters, digital marketing agencies must follow the latest developments across digital marketing trends on a regular basis. It is part of their job description. If certain agencies fail to grasp what is happening, changing or unfolding in their industry, they will cease to be relevant. This is especially important, as current digital trends indicate that effective marketing requires brands to reach their target audience while adopting advanced omnichannel strategies. While your eye is understandably on your company and the product, digital marketing agencies are committed to keeping you abreast of all the latest developments in marketing.

2. Better Industry Storytellers

While your marketing team may be working really hard to promote your product offering, digital marketing agencies are made up of experienced professionals that can provide tangible value in defining and spreading your brand’s appeal across leading industry players. This focus can help bring about real results that can be very beneficial to your company. For instance, if your chosen agency succeeds in creatively generating positive PR about your brand’s ability to meet trend-related demands, this will improve your company’s image and naturally, help you capitalize on many marketing opportunities.

Unless you have a massive overhead budget, it’s almost impossible to hire effectively the skillsets needed to capitalize on many digital marketing opportunities. The capable talent to execute the digital strategies is an inherent part of agency culture, one that needs to be stimulated by daily deep, creative exercises. Also, today in the competitive digital landscape, brands need to limit risk, reduce human resource efforts, and purchase results by an accountable agency.

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H/T Forbes.