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CONNECTED CULTURE Blog by Jerry Allocca

Now, more than ever, we're all connected. What does it mean to be part of the Connected Culture? Share your thoughts and ideas here!

Are You Not Tracking Conversions and Desired Outcomes

tracking converstions

Digital marketing is a multi-faceted, vitally important part of an overall marketing strategy. In fact, it’s just as much about data analysis as it is about strategy development and implementation. Yet, too often, marketing directors fall into the trap of focusing all their attention on creating and managing digital campaigns and neglecting the necessary task of tracking conversions. A website, as well as other digital marketing channels, must be carefully managed and monitored to ensure their ongoing success. And, decisions should be made on accurate data and not on hunches and guesswork.

Define Your Conversion
A conversion can mean vastly different things, depending on your industry, as well as the products and services that you market. For example, it could be as straightforward as a site visitor who buys something. Or, it could be a request for more information or a download of a gated asset. This is why it’s important to have a clear definition of a conversion as it pertains to your organization. In some cases, you may have multiple types of conversions. However, if you aren’t tracking visitors and what they’re doing at all, you are more likely managing a glorified online business card than a true lead generating tool.

Set Goals
If you’re guilty of not truly understanding the return on investment (ROI) of your digital marketing campaigns, an important step is to establish measurable business goals based upon your defined conversion. This will help you to establish what you want to achieve. Of course, as you become more accustomed to relying on data to drive your decisions, it’s likely that these goals will evolve.

Track the Data That Matters
You can slice and dice data in an infinite number of ways. However, looking at every data point is a recipe for analytic overload. While it can be enlightening to review multiple types of data, it’s important to clearly identify what you need to know to make smart marketing decisions. Basics such as what percentage of visitors are converted and what is the best source of converted visitors is a good place to start.

Make Logical Improvements
Is your data indicating that your ROI isn’t what it should be? There are usually some low hanging fruit strategies you can implement right away to bump up conversion rates. These include:

  • Reducing the number of clicks to your desired action
  • Identifying specific drop-off points and either modifying or removing them
  • Eliminating areas that produce bottlenecks and hinder traffic flow

Test, Test and Test Some More

Anyone who claims to be an online expert but doesn’t rely on test results is not a reliable source of information. There is no single approach that works for everyone, and often, testing can produce some surprising results. Through ongoing testing, fine-tuning and testing some more, you can define the strategies that work best for your organization.

To make truly enlightened digital marketing decisions that drive a higher ROI, you need data on conversions and desired outcomes. This is how you will find out what works and where to invest your marketing budget. Remember – monitor campaigns from start to finish, evaluate data, make improvements and evaluate some more.

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3 Landing Pages Strategies That Produce Results

landing pageDo you have landing pages that aren’t the successful lead generation tools you thought they’d be? Landing pages are just too essential to let them fail. If you’re like many marketers, you’ve had varying degrees of success with landing pages, and you may have even begun to question their effectiveness. Before you pull the plug on this key component of your inbound marketing efforts, you might want to try updating your landing pages using the three following, proven best practices that have enabled countless other marketers to generate valuable leads and customers.

Strong Headlines, Concise Copy
Your site visitors are bombarded with messages from countless other sources. To cut through the clutter, you need to grab them first with a headline that captures their attention, sums up your offer and compels them to take the next step.

From there, your copy must be clear, concise and focused. This isn’t the place to provide detailed product descriptions or lengthy customer testimonials. Use bullet points and compelling images to communicate clear takeaways and break up blocks of text with subheads and call-outs. Strategically place keywords in the page title, headers and text to optimize for search engines, and don’t forget a convincing call to action that can provide a clear actionable next step for visitors to take.

Highly Visible Buttons and Calls-to-Action
Don’t make potential customers search for a conversion button. It should be prominently displayed directly below your call-to-action. It’s also beneficial to include social sharing buttons to promote sharing of your landing page via online communities on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others.

Test, Test, and Test Again
One of the very useful benefits of landing pages is the ability to modify them quickly without having to rip and replace your existing website. You may have multiple headlines or calls to action. By using a basic A/B test, you can determine what works and what doesn’t. The process of experimentation in messaging, images, calls to action and design can help you achieve the maximum number of conversions possible.

Need Help with Your Landing Pages?
Do you not have the time or resources to create and manage landing pages? Don’t miss this powerful heart and soul of your lead generation efforts. Contact Connected Culture today to find out how we can help you with your digital marketing needs.

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3 Tips to Strengthen Your Digital Marketing Success

3 Tips to Strengthen Your Digital Marketing SuccessIt’s a new year with new strategies for successfully growing your brand online. The days of simply putting up a great looking website or managing a Facebook page are coming to a close. Success now means knowing how to be one step ahead of your audience — and your competitors — when it comes to your online presence.

The following three digital marketing tips can help you make this happen!

A Return to Simplicity
While the Internet keeps getting more and more complex, it’s no surprise that online audiences are increasingly searching for simple, easy-to-use sites and apps. No one has the time or patience to navigate through multi-step processes to interact on a social media site or mobile app. Consider Snapchat. While it only is capable of doing very specific things, it’s wildly successful. Why? It’s easy to use and lacks the frustrating number of applications, buttons and tools of many other sites.

If you’re one of the many digital marketers who erroneously believes that Snapchat is a site for teens who want to share photos and videos with friends, think again! Leading organizations are now launching Snapchat accounts because of the growing audience, including the NFL and even the White House. This is helping to increase users by leaps and bounds, with more than 11 percent of Americans now using Snapchat.

Messaging Apps
Even though we’re all relying on technology more than ever to communicate, it doesn’t mean we are losing the desire to actually connect with others. The need for communication and connection is just as strong as ever. In today’s world, we’re more likely than ever to accomplish this via the Internet. Messaging apps, like WhatsApp and Snapchat, are making it very easy to have conversations and share images and videos with friends, loved ones and even with the brands we buy from. For digital marketers, messaging apps are opening up new opportunities to form stronger, more personalized connections with online audiences.

Live Video
According to Cisco, video will account for nearly 75 percent of all consumer internet traffic in 2017. It’s now a reality that online video is becoming a fundamental way for people to access information and entertainment. Video is the future of content marketing, and those that don’t prepare for this shift will soon find themselves falling behind. When you consider that YouTube receives more than one billion unique visitors each month, who wouldn’t want to capture at least a part of this growing audience?

It’s Time to Call in the Experts
Still determining the best strategy to ensure your organization’s success in 2017? Along with leveraging the above tips, it may be time to call in a specialized team of digital marketing experts to help you achieve your goals.

Call Connected Culture today at 212-257-4111 or reply to this email to learn more about how we can help you maximize your efforts.

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How a Digital Marketing Agency Can Save You from Job Burnout

Find out if it’s time to hire a digital marketing agency to achieve your organization’s marketing goals and drive your digital marketing success in 2017If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember how marketing departments operated prior to the digital age. Sure, there were deadlines and goals to meet, but projects typically ran at a manageable pace. In stark contrast, marketing professionals today are dealing with fast-moving business elements that range from content development and branding to public relations, SEO and a growing list of digital channels. Skill sets must now also include knowledge of mobile technology, real-time data analysis and even programming. Both the number of projects and job requirements to complete them have expanded dramatically, and this evolution has been rapid.

The result is overworked and understaffed marketing departments. In a study of more than 500 marketing professionals, from Workfront, a supplier of project management software, 72 percent reported tension in the office due to an increased workload, and 1 out of 4 say they’re either “overly stressed” or “stressed to the max.” With marketing playing a more vital role in the success of a business than ever before, the increasing stress and pressure placed on marketers is a cause for concern that every organization should take seriously.

What Can Be Done?
Are you a marketing director who is struggling to keep up with an overwhelming list of projects and daily tasks? It may be tempting to forego digital marketing altogether. However, today’s customers are online, and staying competitive means, like it or not, embracing digital marketing.

What about new time-saving technology? While solutions that automate processes, such as CRM and project management software can be beneficial, they don’t make up for the dramatic increase in workload due to the expansion of digital marketing.

Some organizations try to fill the lack of staff by hiring temporary workers or interns. This is a quick fix but certainly not a solution. It’s highly unlikely you’ll be lucky enough to find someone who is qualified to independently manage complex projects that require industry and company knowledge, as well as technical skill and expertise.

It’s Time to Call in the Experts
Continuing to struggle with an overload of work is a setup for failure. If you’re burning the candle at both ends and consistently finding that not everything can get done successfully, it’s time to ask for help. And, the best source for help is a digital agency that can partner with you to support your goals and drive your success. With a skilled agency on your side, you don’t just get another pair of hands to help, you get a dedicated team with broad expertise and deep experience to tackle the projects you need tackled and to even provide ideas and guidance on how to achieve even greater levels of success.

Let us help you shine in 2017 by being your digital marketing agency. Contact the experts at Connected Culture today.

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Facebook IQ + Facebook Insights: Powerful Digital Marketing Tools

Better Facebook Marketing Through InsightsSuccessfully generating a return on investment from Facebook marketing has become more difficult than ever. With more than 1.7 billion users and a growing number of advertisers all vying to capture market share, creating a successful campaign is no easy task.

Facebook IQ
An often-overlooked source of insights that can help you better understand what makes Facebook users tick is Facebook IQ. This blog-like site from Facebook publishes regular content that uses Facebook insights and data analysis and opinions from top researchers, sociologists, anthropologists, scientists and others to enable marketers to better understand their target audiences. Categorized by topic, articles offer valuable information for those who are planning Facebook campaigns. As well, the Industry Research section of the site provides beneficial articles specifically about Facebook marketing on topics such as media planning, testing campaigns, optimizing audience buying and reaching full campaign potential.

Facebook Insights
Facebook Insights is also a fundamental resource for anyone who is considering ad spend on Facebook. This has long been used by those who understand the importance of data when making marketing decisions. And, the tools have become easier to use over the years, offering clear data sets with easy-to-navigate, customizable graphs.

What’s New in Facebook
If there’s one constant in Facebook, it’s that it’s always evolving and being updated. In fact, there have been some recent changes that marketers should be aware of. These include:

  1. Updated Layout – Facebook recently announced an official update to its business page layout. The changes include different positioning of images, more prominent call-to-action buttons and improved navigation.
  2. The End to the 20% Text Rule – Facebook recently eliminated this rule that rejected ads with more than 20% text. Now, marketers can have as much text as they want in their Facebook ads.
  3. New Video Metrics – Those that publish videos on Facebook will appreciate new metrics that can offer greater insights into their visibility. These include audience demographics by age, gender and geographic locations.
  4. Custom Audiences – Marketers can now create audiences of people who are most active on their websites. This is available to Facebook advertisers creating audiences from the Facebook Ads Manager or Power Editor.

Want guidance in your Facebook marketing campaigns? Contact the experts at Connected Culture.

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Insights from Google’s Penguin Update

Google Penguin After a two-year wait, Google’s Penguin algorithm update has finally been launched. In its simplest terms, Penguin is a filter created to catch sites that are spamming Google’s search results to increase their rankings. First introduced in 2012, Penguin was designed to find sites that violated Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and penalize them. Even if the sites were improved, they would stay penalized until the next time the Penguin filter ran. This often took months. In 2014, Penguin 3.0 was introduced, cracking down even harder on spammy sites. The penalty went from a couple of months to two years.

With the new Penguin 4.0, these delays are now gone, according to Google. The filter is now real-time. This means that as Google crawls and indexes, pages will be constantly assessed by the Penguin filter. Pages will be caught or freed by Penguin on an ongoing basis.

The algorithm is also more granular. According to Google, “Penguin now devalues spam by adjusting ranking based on spam signals, rather than affecting ranking of the whole site.” While Penguin used to be a site-wide penalty, it’s now more specific to affected pages.

What This Means for Your Website
With the rollout of Penguin 4.0, search engine result pages have been more volatile than usual. This highlights the importance of having specific and relevant content on your website. Google values the quantity and diversity of content and will catch pages that have similar content that is repeated specifically to get back links.

What else can you do? If you’re using anchor text for PageRank shortcuts, you’re likely to get penalized. Excessive blog commenting on a similar website or reciprocal link exchange are also red flags in the eyes of Google. While there are tools to evaluate back links, it’s wise to manually audit and remove bad links from directories, PR sites, paid links and link farms to avoid being penalized.

Yes, the update will mean more work to consistently retain a high ranking on SERPs. For those who continuously work to build quality websites, Penguin 4.0 should ultimately be a benefit by swiftly and consistently penalizing low quality sites and ensuring they don’t rank well in search results.

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Google Data Studio: Transform Your Data into Visual Reports

Why You Need Google Data StudioThe growing use of data and analytics has put many digital marketers in the challenging position of having to create reports. Yet, most have little or no background in graphic design. While some are able to create rudimentary charts and tables that get the job done, others invest in expensive report generation software or even hire outside providers to create consumable reports.

Have you been tasked with creating reports even though you have little or no background in graphic design? If so, you’ll appreciate Google’s latest release – Google Data Studio. This new data visualization product integrates data across multiple Google products and other data sources to transform it into amazingly professional-looking, interactive reports and dashboards with built-in real-time collaboration.

You Never Thought You Could Create Reports Like This!
Digital marketing professionals know that Google Analytics is fantastic for generating data that drives business decisions. Yet, it has always been tedious and time-consuming creating reports that actually make sense to executives, shareholders and clients. With Data Studio, the process of pulling information to create agency-quality, consumable reports is intuitive and simplified. The new tool provides the ability to change colors, gradients, fonts and more to make reports professional enough to be placed in presentations, annual reports and brochures.

You can choose from bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts and other formats. It’s easy to add text boxes, images, shapes and even your logo to customize a report. Do you use data from sources, other than Google Analytics? Not a problem! One of the most amazing features of Data Studio is that you can pull information from a wide variety of sources and combine them in one report. Some of the data sources you can integrate into a Google Data Studio report are:

  • Adwords
  • BigQuery
  • MySQL
  • YouTube Analytics
  • Google Sheet

Real Time Updates and Collaboration
With Data Studio, your reports don’t have to be stagnant. Instead, they can be changed in real-time whenever there is an update to a data source. Want to collaborate with others on reports? Not a problem! Data Studio reports are just like other documents on Google Drive. You can grant permission for others to access and update.

Who Said Nothing Is Free?
Yes, Data Studio currently won’t cost you a dime! But, there are some restrictions. You’ll be limited to five reports per account. However, you can create additional pages on each report you create.

Have you tried Google Data Studio yet? Tell us your thoughts by leaving a comment below.

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Digital Media ROI: How to Determine Its Effectiveness

digital-media-roi-connected-cultureIn the highly segmented, complex world of digital media, results and analytical data can be obtained on a real-time basis. However, the challenge is being able to calculate the return on investment (ROI) of this never-ending stream of information and communicate it to those decision-makers who sign off on marketing budgets.

When you have multi-faceted digital
marketing campaigns that are focused on multiple audiences, it can be difficult to keep track of what’s working and what’s not, as well as where it’s best to allocate resources. One Google AdWords campaign may be highly successful, but others may be lagging in results. A single email blast can generate many click-throughs, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that they translate into leads or sales.

In the simplest terms, the goal of any digital media effort is to generate relevant traffic and ultimately generate qualified leads and increase sales and revenue. Yet, the question is how best to track these efforts to determine if your goal is being achieved. The following are a few of the most valuable sources of data to evaluate your campaigns’ effectiveness.

Website Analytics
Because your website is truly the storefront for your organization, it’s absolutely essential to have your finger on the pulse of who your visitors are and how many are converting. This means analyzing your visitor traffic to understand their behaviors and their needs. Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for determining your digital media ROI because it enables you to measure online sales and conversions, as well as gain valuable insights into how visitors find and use your site and what makes them come back again.

Need to drill down and find the ROI of just one campaign? Google Analytics can provide great detail about a single landing page to help you determine the effectiveness of your content. Other ways to accomplish this are to provide a dedicated phone number for each digital marketing campaign or a specific promo code for site visitors to use. These unique markers are easy to track for the purpose of calculating ROI.

Social Media Analytics
One of the many benefits of an organization taking the time to build exposure on social media is to access the analytics that these channels offer. Every social media channel, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, offers amazingly detailed analytics that enable you to track the success of what you share, especially Facebook’s conversion tracking pixel method. From posts to advertisements and interactions, learning who is responding to your content, as well as if they are converting, can help guide your marketing strategies and determine the value of what you’re putting out there for your specific audiences.

Email Analytics
Do you have an extensive email list? If you’re already sending out email blasts in the form of newsletters or promotions, you will want to carefully assess the metrics on how many recipients are actually opening your content and then clicking through to take the next step. And of course tracking how many of those clicks to your website result in conversions.

Putting It Together
When it comes to determining the overall effectiveness of your digital marketing efforts, you need to first generate the data from each individual campaign and then review them collectively to gain a greater understanding of the big picture. With a 360-degree view of where your online audiences are coming from, where they are going and how many are converting, you can calculate the value of your digital efforts and develop a deeper understanding to improve your results.

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Google AdWords Expanded Text Ads: Best Practices

Google made an exciting announcement earlier this summer that made digital marketing experts jump for joy! Among several AdWords changes that were presented in the announcement was a big change to the size of Google text ads. Advertisers can now delight in having nearly twice the space they previously had to create ads that compel readers to click on them. Yes, this is big news for anyone who has struggled with creating quality ads with strong headlines and descriptions with such an abbreviated character count.

Google AdWords Text Ads

Google actually referred to the change as the biggest update since AdWords was launched 15 years ago. The reason for the change is to make text ads more visible on mobile devices. This change comes after Google’s decision earlier in the year to remove right-side ads on desktop. It’s apparent that Google wants to create a more unified experience across devices.

So, what can digital marketers do to make the most of these new expanded ads? The following are a few best practices to help you modify existing ads and to create new ads with the updated format.

Reevaluate Your Message – Many advertisers will simply add a second headline to existing ads. While this is a faster, easier way to update ads to the new format, it’s not the most effective route. This larger format offers the ability to reconsider messaging and to build more content around it. By taking into account each line of content and fine-tuning messaging, you’ll increase the likelihood that a reader will take the next step of clicking on it.

Expand Your Headlines – With the change, your headline character count grows from one 25-character headline to two 30-character headlines. This is substantial and dramatically increases the clickable space of your ads. Think carefully about how you want to convey your headline to attract the attention of someone who is searching ads.

Consider the Formatting of Your Headline – Your ad’s headline fields are combined with a hyphen in the new format. On a mobile device, headlines can wrap beyond the first line. You will want to experiment with different headline options to see how your ad will appear on a variety of devices to maximize your ad’s readability.

Power Up Your Descriptions – Your descriptions are increasing from two 35-character description lines to one 80-character description line. Like with headlines, you’ll want to take some time to determine how to best communicate your message with the extra characters.

Use Bulk Editing – Do you have many ads that are still in the old format? There’s more good news. You don’t have to update each ad individually. To make bulk changes, multi-selecting them in the “Edit” menu and make the edits to any number of ads you want with a single process.

Keep Track of the Changeover – On October 26th of this year, AdWords will no longer support the creation or editing of standard text ads. Existing ads made prior to the change will remain in the old format, and all new ads must use the expanded ad format.

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Should You Be Advertising on Snapchat?

SnapchatIt may be difficult to believe that a social media site that eliminates photos and videos in a matter of seconds is all the rage with teens and young adults. It may be even more unfathomable that the same site turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook. However, if you’re familiar with Snapchat, you already know that its rapid adoption has been nothing short of unbelievable.

Today, Snapchat is one of the most popular social sharing sites on the Internet, and its popularity continues to grow. To generate revenue, Snapchat introduced advertising on its site back in 2014. However, unlike Facebook and Google that display ads based on information they’ve gathered from users, Snapchat doesn’t target ads or place them in personal communication. Rather, the company offers multiple options for advertising to enable businesses of all sizes the opportunity to reach new audiences on the site.

Snap Ads
The top-of-the-line advertising opportunity on Snapchat is “Snap Ads.” This is a mobile video ad that enables users to swipe to get more information. Swiping reveals extended content, such as an app or mobile website. The swipe-up rate for Snap Ads is five times higher than the average click-through rate on comparable platforms, according to Snapchat.

Sponsored Geofilters
For those with smaller budgets, Snapchat’s “Sponsored Geofilters” may be an option for reaching the site’s coveted demographic. Geofilters are snippets of art that appear on images in the location(s) of your choice. You can set up a campaign that targets a specific location or a major event and get your name on snaps being sent on a specific day. According to Snapchat, a single Geofilter typically reaches 40 to 60 percent of those who use Snapchat daily.

Sponsored Lenses
With “Sponsored Lenses” you get the opportunity to create interactive ads. When you consider that the average Snapchatter plays with a sponsored lens for 20 seconds, you can begin to see the advantage of these ads and how they can help support a larger digital marketing campaign.

With both advantages and limitations, it’s unlikely that Snapchat will be the sole advertising medium for a typical digital marketer. However, it can be a wise addition to an otherwise strong marketing plan that is focused on attracting a young audience such as college students.


Have you advertised on Snapchat or are you considering it?

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