Content Strategy & Search Marketing – The Rise of Personal Searches

Search Marketing

Search engines are catching up to word-of-mouth in terms of turning curious consumers into buyers. Personalized search is becoming more and more prominent in our online and mobile-centric society, and marketers need to step up to the plate in order to compete and capture the attention of these consumers online.

This recent shift to personalized search has a pretty critical differentiator – a slight change in how people are typing queries into Google. As an example, Google says that with this personalized search, rather than searching for “how often should your company use Twitter?” people are now asking “how often should my company use our Twitter?”. It seems slight – and it is – but it’s a super important factor to consider. If Google says it’ll affect your search rankings, we believe it. And, as content marketers, we have an obligation to consider these as best practices for complementary SEO and search efforts.

A recent article from Search Engine Watch caught our eye, as it discusses how we can prepare and optimize content marketing for these types of personalized search. Here’s a quick look at what they had to say:

Tools

Creating calculators and tools is a brilliant way of targeting personal search terms and providing our users with the personalized response they are looking for. Let’s use a fitness example to demonstrate this:

This recent data circulation from Google suggests that users are starting to search for something like, “how much water should I drink each day?” in higher volumes than something like, “how much water should you drink per day?”.

Now, most of us know that the answer to this question will depend on a number of different factors including gender, body composition, activity level and so on.

What our audience is expecting from this search is a personalized answer that takes all of these things into consideration and tells them exactly how much water they should personally be drinking each day.

A water consumption calculator would do this well, and if the user wants the specificity of an individual result, they will be willing to fill in the necessary personal details to retrieve it. A blog post that simply states the average recommended fluid intake for a man or a woman as recommended by the NHS is no longer user-focused enough.

Case studies and testimonials

Providing personalized content will not always be easy, and at times users may need encouragement to spend a little longer on a page to find the personalized answer they are looking for. In this instance, case studies and testimonials are a great way to push users further through their journey in the right direction.

For example, “How much money do I need to retire?” is a more complex question than our fitness example. There are so many variants that could alter the accurate and personalized response to this question, so it’s difficult to answer it quickly in a personalized way.

However, if we provide users with a testimonial or case study at the right stage in their journey – one that was created after a lot of persona research and uses someone or a situation that will resonate with them – they are likely to engage with the content.

Creating engagement via a case study will increase the likelihood that they’ll enquire with your brand for a more personalized answer, continuing their journey on their way to the personalized answer they are looking for.

Keep reading this article on Search Engine Watch.

 

Curious to learn more about how we rock SEO, search marketing, and content marketing strategies that are beautifully intertwined? Reach out or give us a shout on Twitter – we’d love to chat!

How Can I Create Ads That Avoid Ad-Blocking Technology?

People are blocking ads at an alarming rate. Long gone are the days where you’d be made to sit through a long YouTube ad totally unrelated to your chosen video or be visually violated by refulgent call-to-action buttons in display ads.

Consumers are tech-savvy nowadays, especially the Millennials and Generation Z. With studies estimating that 18-24 year-olds are 3x more likely to have ad blocker software installed than not and with 91% of people saying ads these days are more intrusive today than one or two years ago, just what can we do as marketers to make sure our curated content reaches the youth of today?

The Game Changer for Digital Advertising

The study pulled out another interesting statistic that  73% of people said they would be willing to pay for content to avoid ads. BINGO!

To get on the right side of our tech-savvy consumers, we’ve got to be creating great content that will interest and engage them. No gimmicks, click baits, or bolshy buttons in sight, just honest, interesting targeted content that will be inherently valuable to a consumer.

The Solution to Our Ad Woes: Native Ads + Adding Value

What is a Native Ad and how do they work?

Native advertising – in which the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience – is being used more and more by big brands and startups alike. Native and branded content placements neatly combine with the content on the site to look like one and the same, with correlating form and function with the native user experience. It’s so clever that sometimes it’s even difficult as a marketer to spot some native ad campaigns. As a result, these ads have a higher click-through rate (CTR) than traditional display ads as it is non-interruptive content for the interested consumer.

Take a look at the other advantages of native ads, through Sharethrough’s infographic:

Ad-Blocking TechnologyAd-Blocking Technology

Non-interruptive has become a form of intelligent ad design.

Check out a mobile example below:

Ad-Blocking Technology

Source: Sharethrough

As seen in this example, the native Google ad is placed within the consumer’s ‘Auto News,’ and is only recognized when clicked on, or when the consumer is paying very close attention to all the content. Even then, the content is by no means strongly oriented towards a hard sell. Rather, it’s valuable content with the objective to builds up awareness of a brand and to prompt the consumer to click.

What content should I be advertising?

These can be in the form of anything that you feel would be of value in the eyes of the consumer. Mediums such as blog posts, product updates, and industry expert information all work well as native ads to engage your target audience.Be savvy in the way you introduce your calls-to-action within the copy in your chosen medium. Don’t bombard your reader with sales jargon; instead, position external links naturally and cohesively within your writing. Inviting a reader to opt-in to an email list or to learn more about a product or service in the copy of the blog post is a great way to engage their interest. Additionally, as your content is jammed packed full of value, there is an increased likelihood that the reader will go ahead and share your content, at no cost to you! Win, win.  

The relationship between consumers and branded online advertising is only going to get better. Producing better ads requires a partnership between publishers/platforms, advertisers, and consumers. Collectively, we need to make ads less intrusive and more relevant for consumers. As users become more accustomed to a less interruptive way of receiving ads, we can then re-establish the trust lost between consumers and brands.

Do you need help with your Facebook ads or Google ads and want advice for ‘going native?’ Get in touch with us to talk shop!

5 Books On Expert Marketing Psychology We Love

Marketing Psychology

At the very heart of every successful marketing strategy is the psychology behind it that makes it work. The actions, behaviors, feelings, and perceptions of customers are the driving force behind most purchasing decisions, making a firm understanding of marketing psychology one of the most important factors to consider for any campaign.

While marketers and psychologists are rarely one in the same, the two fields are so intertwined that it’s impossible (and honestly unreasonable) to ignore. Using marketing psychology is an intelligent, ethical thing to do in order to engage, inform, and create loyal consumers.

We employ a lot of psychological assessment and consideration when planning and strategizing for our clients, but we don’t have ALL of the answers. To help fill in the gaps, we regularly read up on techniques, best practices, and updates in the world of marketing psychology. Here are some of the best books we’re into now:

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition

Author: Robert Cialdini

About the author: Robert is currently the Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University.

What you will learn: How people reach their action. Robert walks the reader through the psychology of why people say yes. This is exceptionally valuable as a marketing psychology book as we reach an age where AI can easily switch our purchase decisions at the very last minute. This crucial time of purchase will really help the seller rethink end-of-purchase strategy all the while being fascinated with the way our own brain works.

Where to find it: Amazon

The Complete Guide to Understanding Consumer Psychology

Author: Neil Patel

About the author: Neil is one of the most famous names in the industry. An influencer, star and general contributor to most online marketing knowledge. Co-Founder of Crazy Egg and KISSMetrics and absolutely obsessed with business growth.

What you will learn: It’s a free guide broken into seven easy-to-digest chapters where you can find easy to follow subjects like color use, online conception, emotions, small tactics with big wins and avoiding points of friction. It’s probably one of the easiest guides on the internet.

Where to find it: Quick Sprout

Brainfluence: 100 Ways to Persuade and Convince Consumers with Neuromarketing

Author: Rodger Dooley

About the author: Dooley is the sole creator and publisher of this book, hailing from the popular blog – Neuromarketing, which researches brain behavior in marketing, advertising, and sales.

What you will learn: This is a very specific book for learning everything practical for acting on behavior patterns and the neuroscience and how to attract new customers. It’s the marketing psychology book for small businesses and non-profits which unleashes techniques that will enable your business to form emotional bonds with new customers.

Where to find it: Wiley

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

Author: Jonah Berger

About the author: An expert on the most valuable marketing technique – word-of-mouth. Jonah is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania focusing on viral marketing, social influence, and trends.

What you will learn: This isn’t just a marketing psychology book that interests the marketer, it’s rather a broad way of learning about our natural psychological inclination to other various decisions. These daily examples are highly relevant to marketers as they explain the desires of the consumer.

Where to find it: Amazon

Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing

Author: Douglas Van Praet

About the author:

What you will learn: It’s bringing a revolutionary concept to the cognitive science of how we market, advertise and consume in the modern digital age. This is the best possible book that will help you break down the elements of the human brain and apply them to your marketing activities across any industry. You can learn about codified steps, behavior change and traditionally what humans strategies are.

Where to find it: Amazon

It can be a sensitive matter to notice ways where your brain triggers purchase, consumers have habits and everyone is different but the usual purchase method can actually be very simple. There’s a lot to learn on this subject if you’re looking for customer success these books will influence the way you stop and think about the way your customers will make your next purchase.

If you feel like you need a little more background knowledge on the way consumers behave and to inject this into your next campaign, give us a shout to see how we can spice things up.

Why I Don’t Want to Be Called A ‘Woman In Tech’

We’re fighting until we break the societal idea that a man is a person and a woman is a woman.’  

In January of this year, I attended the EdTech Women’s conference at Microsoft in Vancouver – an event dedicated to discussing the three hottest topics in technology right now: women, tech, and education.

‘Just what is a Woman in Tech?’ and ‘why do you choose to be identified as such?’ were among the first significant questions put to the panelists (3 bo$$ing female CEOs and startup co-founders). This was when it hit me. I am a woman and I work with technology, yet I prefer not to call myself a ‘woman in tech’ (even though I am seemingly grouped as such).

The phrase ‘woman in tech’ has been brandished about these past years as a title loaded with promise and innovation. However, nowadays (as I realized at this event) with many pejorative and detrimental associations.

The Species of Homo Technologicus

During the Q&A, a keen male audience member asked the panel as to where they see a woman fitting in within such a male-centered industry. He rightly pointed out that men have created the majority of software due to the lack of females in the technology industry, and he wanted to know how they saw such virtual workspaces morphing with the introduction of women.

This question was stated in an agitated, concerned manner and carried an undeniably condescending tone.

The majority of women tittered around the room. It was clear we’d just had our first evening encounter of a stereotypical gender-insensitive homo technologicus. His style of thinking is exactly why I believe the title ‘Women in Tech’ is a false friend (and I’ll extrapolate this idea further below). To answer his question put to the panel in my own words: the only thing that will change is that there are females in the workspace. That’s all. Business acumen, innovation, strategy, general ability, will not digress and deplete.

Why Should Gender Make a Difference?

The title ‘Woman in Tech’ for this man (sufferer of h-t) clearly conjured up an underlying air of incapability – a sea of pink laptops, softly-designed web pages, and a lack of strong digital ‘know-how’ and ‘get-done’ mentality. It made him nervous, and it makes me nervous that he would think this way. This view, my tech friends (male and female), as we all know, is simply not true.

Let’s put this man straight. Females are not technologically inept or lacking compared to our male counterparts. Rather, at this present time, the focus is on women in the tech, science, research, business marketing, and engineering industries because we have finally been given the opportunity to ‘stretch our wings’ and exercise our right to our seat at the technical table. Hallelujah!

Is the ‘Women in Tech’ Movement a Big Deal?

It is.

The ‘Women in Tech’ movement got us through the door to this advancing industry and provided the opportunity for women worldwide to be accepted within the technological public sphere. It highlighted (and continues to highlight) the great gender inequalities within the technology industry itself, and fights to make previously male-dominated roles more gender inclusive and diversified.

However, does continually singling out actually add to that treatment of being outsiders in this industry? Something we’re specifically trying to avoid?

I could easily say yes to this question after listening to the leading panelists scrabbling around for a definition; quite rightly, as we’ve all NEVER needed to define it. Women in tech should not be treated differently at all. A woman in tech is not a woman who is out to subvert the way technology is progressing and indeed is not explicitly lacking in the technological know-how. However, such stereotypical thinking by females, women in tech, males, et al, can be detrimental, as Katie Womersely, a developer at Buffer, writes:

As a woman developer… I mentally check the female box and then proceed to be “in tech.” Identifying myself with a group stereotyped to be worse on average at technical tasks primes me to do worse when faced with a technical task. This can quickly lead to imposter syndrome and worse. The way around this for me was to downplay being a woman, and this meant not talking about diversity.’

‘The Stereotype Threat’ is a Real Thing

(*drops mic*)

My point is that I, and many others who consider themselves a ‘woman in tech’ have made the conscious decision not to accept the title. This is due to our preference for acceptance over appreciation. We are not a token novelty in this business and should not be treated as such. In addition, as we have seen above, such typecast, stereotypical thinking can also lead to some cases of weaker work performances and the potential to develop anxieties. For true progress to be made in the tech sphere, we should be developing as a gender-defying unit rather than engaging in ‘one-upmanship’ antics. We should be talking about belonging and not engaging in active separatism.

The ‘inclusive movement’ has begun, and now many women have earned their seat at the table, it’s no longer such a novelty. The key to holistic progression is through moving forward in technology as a collective, without singling out minorities and questioning intentions. We #techfem are here to stay, so let’s treat ourselves (and have others treat us) as such!

Do you consider yourself a ‘Woman in Tech’ or not? Do you want to express your opinions on the movement? Let’s start a conversation.

From 2018: What Is The Next Step For AI Evolution?

AI marketing

We’re a month into 2018 already; we’ve already discussed the predictions of every element of marketing, and how to best plan out the year for ourselves and our clients. But what does the future hold?

We know the robots are already in our kitchen, our desks and down your local bar covering appliances, assistance, and customer succession. The next possible domination for them is unknown, but if we look into various sectors to study where they could conquer, then this allows us more time to plan strategically to work with them as our sidekick, not our competitor. There are speculations and desires of where it will strike next, until then, here are some examples of the direction and the next steps of AI evolution in marketing and other prominent industries today.

The Evolution of AI Within Marketing

We can safely say that the marketing industry has changed significantly, but we all know we are just at the dawn of AI evolution. Brands are yet to completely understand the complex changes in which artificial intelligence will change our workplaces and our day-to-days. 8 in 10 B2B marketing executives believe that by 2020, AI will completely revolutionize marketing. The major effects it will make to work practices will be more efficient in operations as machine learning implementation can take care of many admin roles, healthcare, finance and many more.  

Example: Personalization With Phrasee

One challenging role in digital marketing is creating subject lines that compel your readers just to click on your email. A live, human employee will know the ins and outs of your client base, your regular reader, demographics, what worked or what didn’t – therefore, they are able to create more personalized subjects creating a higher value to the content. Now AI-powered software such as Phrasee exists to help you optimize content, and continually improve those open rates and CTRs.  

Example: Purchase Recommendations With Gray Jean’s Genie

Genie is an AI-powered recommendation engine that predicts consumer behavior used by marketers to better target their customers at the right time, with the right message. Gray Jean claims that with their experience, they have been able to predict customers next likely purchase with up to 72% accuracy. Because the platforms hosts behaviors from online and offline, CRM and social media capabilities, deals can be customized with geo-targeting, push notifications, emails and social ads. This defines the next step of AI evolution as more and more companies will need to adopt systems like Genie in order to compete in their eCommerce industry.

The Evolution of AI Across Other Industries

Trains, cars, buses, trams, boats? Truth be told, the mechanisms of all of these transportation forms are in line for their next steps towards AI evolution. You may instantly think, “danger,” but as a matter of fact, this artificial intelligence is capable of detecting hazards, humans and natural causes by landscapes.

Example: Self-Driving Mobiles With Hack Rod

Before any other self-driving Uber, Google, or Tesla cars were created, there was HackRod. These cars have actually taken the data from the driver’s brain waves and other combined sensors, and run it through a machine learning process to create the car’s “nervous system.”

AI Implementing Creativity

To think of a form of creativity, we would automatically think personal talent – songwriting or sculpturing can surely not be the next step in AI evolution, wouldn’t you think. AI technology is capable of playing games, being your personal assistant, and delivering packages to your door, which means they are also fully capable of helping humans create something special or intricate in the shape of an art form.

Example: Creativity With The Infinite Drum Machine

The Infinite Drum-Machine essentially combes thousands of sounds creating musical experiments. The method of this seemingly simple mechanism matches drum patterns which are close together, with the category of color, all into one machine that looks like the solar system. You can click anywhere on the board and create percussive sounds and patterns, that has completely been assisted by AI technology. The craziest part is that anyone can access it.

Example: AutoDraw

Another Google AI experiment will help any doodle artist create better quality images by recognizing a primary drawing and creating something similar, but better. It’s nothing you can make money like Da Vinci from – but for substitute GIFs, your next logo or the outline of your next coloring book, yes it’ll do the job. We’re definitely on our way, and this is in the books for the next steps of AI evolution as ideas for advances are probably underway.

 

 

Some of this may come as a shock, some may come as a nice surprise. Regardless of any emotion towards these next steps in AI evolution, the reality is that we all need to be considering them in our workplaces sometime soon.. otherwise we’ll just fall behind.

If you need any further expert advice, reach out to us so we can share our knowledge, and help you strategize the next best step for AI in your business.