Best Practices for Using LinkedIn Live

Best Practices for Using LinkedIn Live

propertysimple logoLinkedIn recently announced LinkedIn Live, its version of live streaming. The option to broadcast real-time video comes 18 months after the professional social network introduced video to its site. According to TechCrunch, video has been the fastest-growing medium on its platform.

LinkedIn Live provides a significant opportunity for people and organizations to broadcast live video to select groups on a more global scale. Live stream examples include sharing conferences, product announcements, behind-the-scenes tours, and conducting Q&As. For instance, a real estate agent could use LinkedIn Live to give clients a first-look inside available properties and answer any questions they may have about the property.

Those who want to take part in the first roll-out of the live streaming tool will soon be able to apply via a contact form. As of now, it’s uncertain when LinkedIn Live will be available to its 600+ million users.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

What is certain is that it will be important for business professionals to be familiar with live streaming before trying the new feature. The sooner users can jump on LinkedIn Live, the better. As with any new marketing feature, early adopters will be at an advantage compared to those who arrive later to use the tool.

Here are some best practices to keep in mind when using LinkedIn Live:

Schedule and promote broadcasts in advance

Rather than choosing to go live at the spur of the moment, professionals should carefully plan early on, picking a date and time to stream their live event. Additionally, it can be helpful to schedule live streams much like a broadcast TV show. Creating consistency gets the audience in the habit of seeking out content at the same time, whether it’s daily, weekly, or monthly.

Planning in advance allows plenty of time for promoting the live stream. It’s imperative to publicize repeatedly before, during, and after the broadcast. Consider creating an eye-catching image to share all the details about the LinkedIn Live broadcast.

Professionals should cross-promote the event on every platform possible. This includes via website and email newsletter, as well as other social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. Letting as many people as possible know about the event increases the likelihood of good live stream attendance.

Pick an optimal time

When planning a live video, it’s important to consider not only the content that will be streaming but also the target audience. Which time zone are the majority of viewers in? When will they have time to view the content?

Consider their locations and daily routines to come up with a time that would be suitable for them. If the time isn’t convenient, attendance could be less than ideal.

Develop a plan for engagement

Users of LinkedIn Live should be prepared to engage with their audience and encourage viewers to participate. For instance, greet viewers by name as they arrive and ask them where they are from for a good ice-breaker. In addition to striking up a conversation, it’s important that hosts acknowledge incoming questions, which will further increase engagement.

Leveraging subject matter experts that can answer viewer questions and provide excellent insight is an additional way to create engagement and valuable content for the audience. For example, real estate agents could host a Q&A with a mortgage loan consultant to offer lending advice to first-time homebuyers.

If engagement is high, it’s best to consider placing someone in charge of monitoring questions and comments during the live stream. This person can pick questions to discuss on-air and make the streaming process less overwhelming. It’s also a good idea to put together a list of questions and talking points to be covered in case viewers are reserved and don’t immediately ask questions.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Practice ahead of time

Just because an event is live, doesn’t mean it should go unrehearsed. It’s essential for business professionals to rehearse, not memorize, and be very familiar with the content they are discussing.

Guest speakers will also need to be prepared. Hosts can send a list of questions beforehand, but shouldn’t be afraid to deviate in order to provide the audience with valuable information they might need.

Nothing is going to be perfect with live video, but practicing ahead of time will decrease the occurrences of any on-air mishaps and blunders.

Test technical aspects

Since there are no second chances in live video, it’s very important to test the audio, video, and Internet connection to ensure everything works well. If viewers have difficulty hearing or seeing the stream, they may end up frustrated and leave the event.

A reliable, high-speed Internet connection is essential for airing a successful live stream. Users should also have an ethernet cable on hand in the event that the wifi suddenly drops. In addition to performing technical tests using equipment and connection, lighting is also a crucial element to test before streaming.

Video is one of the most engaging marketing tools, and with the launch of LinkedIn Live, it will only continue to rise in popularity. LinkedIn’s new video streaming feature presents a massive opportunity for business professionals to engage with their growing target audience. Keeping these best practices in mind will help them get the most out of their live streaming efforts.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Tequila Shots, Head Shots, And Flu Shots: Thoughts On Kicking The Year Off With A Bang

Tequila Shots, Head Shots, And Flu Shots: Thoughts On Kicking The Year Off With A Bang

6sense logoMy favorite week of the year is always sales kick off, commercial kick off, field kick off — whatever you call it. It’s the week where we get all of our field-facing commercial teams together for a big pep rally to start the year.

The elaboracy of the week can vary from a basic couple days of meetings to a full-blown production with everything from car giveaways, to one-hit-wonder bands who have managed to hang on doing corporate gigs. Depending on your size and scale — and culture — either can be appropriate, and the reality is, the right approach is probably somewhere in between.

So, at this point, I’m sure you’re thinking, ”This lady has no life. I should feel bad for her that a corporate SKO is her favorite week of the year. What must have happened in her childhood?”

While that is true, hear me out.

I think of it more like a big family reunion where I get to see people I work with from all over the world. We laugh, eat, play, give out awards and catch up with one another. But beyond all the fun, as CMO, I believe it’s the most important week of the year to drive Sales and Marketing alignment.

When done correctly, it sends a strong signal to the entire team that leadership is on the same page and ready to roll out this year’s go-to-market strategy, messaging, metrics and key assets that determine success for the whole team. It sets the tone for the upcoming year, and I believe that everyone coming out of SKO should be prepared to successfully execute. It’s that important.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

However, to ensure that happens there is a ton of work that must go into creating that experience long before sales kick off… kicks off.

I have found that turning this over to Marketing, and treating just like a customer-facing event – that means budget, energy, effort and attention to detail – is the best way to ensure you have an amazing SKO.

I didn’t always experience SKO this way, and I’ve learned a lot over the past few years – including making a few mistakes along the way. But I believe I’ve discovered a winning formula that creates an amazing experience that can energize the whole revenue team for an entire year. So, with that, here are some of my best practices, lessons learned, and even a few struggles to watch out for that I hope will help you create a great SKO for your team.

Best Practices

The Theme is Critical

You need a living, breathing and memorable way to tie everything together and make things stick. Salespeople are going to be bombarded with lots of new information, and a great theme can really help make things memorable. A great theme starts with a business goal you are trying to accomplish over the course of the year and ties it to something real, something people can attach to in their everyday life.

An example might be that you have a business goal to sell more strategy and digital experience services in the upcoming year. You know leading with strategy will help you sell more cloud implementation services, so you need folks to lead with conversations about your strategy services (not just project-based implementation). Your theme might be: Rise Above the Clouds. And you might print your value proposition or talking points on paper airplanes that can be folded and flown around the room. Seems silly, but people really attach to a simple, everyday object they can hold (and even play with).

Or, perhaps you’ve got an initiative to really focus on Customer Experience this year. Tie your theme to something like, Winning the CX Games, and create fun and challenging competitions and imagery that steals a page from the X-Games.

The point is, the theme can’t just be a Marketing presentation or the slide template everyone uses. You need to get people involved, get them up, get them moving and experiencing the theme. This is how people learn and remember – through experience.

One year, I had a theme that was based on “soaring above,” and we had lots of funny airplane videos, presenters dressed like flight attendants, a drink cart that rolled through the aisles during presentations (to cheers), branded itinerary folders that held “tickets” to breakout sessions, pilot wings as awards, and breakout rooms and teams with squadron names.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

If you’re the CMO or Marketing leader, make sure you have a mainstage session early in the agenda so you can launch the theme and explain the context and connections that folks should look for over the course of the event, and more importantly how the theme ties to the business objectives throughout the year.

This year, our theme was fun and fresh – and born from a brand new idea about how to position and talk about our solution – so we really sell it to Sales, and the entire company. Prior to our kick off, we had spent weeks trying to distill multiple value propositions and complex feature descriptions down into an easy-to-understand, inspirational “tagline” if you will.

This was a challenge, to say the least, because the 6sense platform is incredibly robust with multiple, high-value use cases, and dozens of indispensable why-to-buys. So, we knew we needed to connect with our people at an emotional level, and really help them embrace a new way of talking about our company and solution.

Our mission at 6sense is to help Marketing and Sales teams KNOW EVERYTHING they can about their prospects and customers, so they can do DO ANYTHING they need to do to compete and win.

So this was our theme: Know Everything. Do Anything.

Of course, we understand its not literal (although it gives us a pretty cool mission and vision), but wearing Nikes doesn’t make you Michael Jordan either. But rather it’s a promise to aspire to in order to help our customers know as much as they can about their customers’ buying journey so they can do the right things to meet those needs and embrace today’s B2B buying habits.

If we were going to have any success in rolling this out to the market, we knew we needed to help our own people understand and attach to the power of this message first. And not just as a tagline, but as a central, driving force behind our product and go-to-market strategy.

I’ll share a couple of examples of how we used the theme to help us gain support for this new message.

New Customer Appreciation Program – The 6sensei

Asking questions about what our customers needed to know and do led us to start asking, “What does a customer who knows everything look like?” “What is it, exactly, that we help them know and do?” “Who out there is really knowing and doing?” We started forming a picture of this super-user who knows everything they need to know and does everything they need to do and the 6sensei program was born.

The idea was to recognize customers who were using our platform in extraordinary ways. The 6sensei knows everything; what accounts are in the market for their product, what their buyer journey looks like, what accounts visited the website, what personas are members of the buying team, etc. And they can do anything, like personalize engagement across every channel, provide sales teams with real insights to get into deals early, and create dynamic campaigns that deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.

These were all real functions of the 6sense platform that salespeople knew were solving customer pain and believed in, so the 6sensei program was an immediate hit because salespeople could imagine one of their customers becoming a 6sensei (with some awesome swag and fanfair), and it made such a strong connection with the knowing and doing message.

It didn’t hurt that we made our head of Customer Success announce the program dressed in a shorty karate robe, dancing to “Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting.”

Personalized Sensei Avatars

Another cool, fun thing we did was create a unique, personalized cartoon 6sensei character for every attendee. Every single person had a customized name card at their seat location, printed with a 6sensei of themselves. It took a few minutes to register when folks first sat at their seats, but the buzz in the room was pretty awesome when everyone started to realize the picture on the card was them!

The idea was to extend the promise of knowing and doing to our own people, so they could extend it to our customers. Our commitment at FKO was that we would help our salespeople know everything they needed to know to do anything they needed to do to be successful. That personal message and commitment went a long way to reinforcing our theme by making it real for our people first.

We also threw a few funny Chris Farley, Beverly Hills Ninja videos at them that didn’t hurt the vibe either. (It’s my favorite movie, don’t judge.)

Come with Surprises & Launch Real Things

The absolute worst thing you can do at your SKO is present a “plan.” Salespeople are skeptical, so if you stand up in front of them and tell them what you are going to do, you may as well not present anything at all. Here, even little things can have a big impact. If you’re announcing some sweet new swag, have some with you. Toss it around. If you’ve got new branding or collateral, bring real pieces, don’t just show digital versions on screen.

If you have new product features, give a demo – even if it’s not ready for prime time. Nothing like showing salespeople what’s to come to light a fire under your product team! It can actually be a fantastic forcing function… and I never like to waste a deadline.

If you’ve got a new product or new release coming out, SKO is the time to rally the entire team around new assets, new messaging, etc. and really stick the landing. Otherwise these things can linger into Q1 or beyond. You need to set the tone that walking out of SKO is the moment when the entire team needs to start executing on the vision for the upcoming year. Literally that moment you need to be ready to go.

Bring the Fun to Keep the Energy High

I have found that it’s the little things people go crazy over. Letting presenters choose a walk-up song as they approach the stage. Funny videos (that match the theme of course!) that break up the slog of constant information flow. I’ve used a nerf box microphone that can be chucked around the room with a fair amount of vigor! The goal is to create a good mix of content, workshops and fun to keep things lively and interesting.

At our kickoff this year we did something I’ve never done before. We did a “Meet the Pros” session where “Pros” with certain, unique skill sets rotated around the room, spending 10 minutes at each table giving others their “pro tips.” These were our own employees with unique talents to share. One person was an expert on keeping calm in tough negotiations, one on setting and meeting personal goals, another on women championing other women in business, and so on.

We also had teams break out and create competitive battle cards, each taking on one of our main competitors. The results were amazing, and without much prompting, it became competitive and fun as teams tried to outwit each other. The end result was far better than anything we could have created on our own had we tried to deliver the standard, front-of-the-room presentation on how to win against the competition.

Karaoke is a 100% Can’t Miss

OK, I will confess, karaoke isn’t really my thing, but I just go with it. I don’t know what it is, but universally, around the world, salespeople love karaoke. From Tokyo to London to San Francisco, I haven’t met a sales team that isn’t down for some off-key antics. So, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Forgo the band or DJ or comedian and let your people entertain themselves.

Don’t Underestimate the Prep Work

This goes not only for you and your team putting on the event, but for the revenue team members attending as well. Pre-work is an important part of ensuring everyone gets real value out of your time together. If you allow your sales reps to show up cold, without doing any pre-work to understand the messaging, positioning, value prop, pitch, etc, that’s a big miss.

You need to set the expectation that it’s a privilege to attend, and folks need to come prepared.

If you’re investing time and effort in certifying your people on the new pitch, learning it once they arrive isn’t an option. You need to give people time to learn new material and make it their own. Ideally, you want them to do any kind of certification in advance. The best way I’ve found to accomplish that is with micro-learning. This allows you to do things like record all of your pitch training and the allow AE’s to access it in small bites, and then record themselves and submit it to peers or managers for review prior to SKO.

The key here is to keep it simple, fun and creative. If it’s a drag, or complicated, or overly technical, nobody is going to play. We got everything from songs to sonnets as the team got creative with their videos, but they learned the pitch! I even did mine from Mexico!

Review Content (Way) Early

Don’t be surprised by what shows up on the screen in front of a room full of salespeople – ever.  Make sure you review every presentation deck. Look for – and eliminate – really bad graphics, sliduments (you know, slides with top to bottom 7 point type), rogue graphic artists who insist on using their own template, etc. Have a designer help, if needed. I typically reserve some contractor hours, keeping them on stand-by, to make sure we have the help we need to create high-quality, professional looking presentations.

The other issue you’ll face are the procrastinators. Doing reviews and check-ins early and often will keep you from the stress of those who would prefer to wait until the night before to create their deck. If someone (even a senior leader) says, “Don’t worry, I’ve done this a bunch of times, I’ll crush it,” you can almost guarantee it will be the worst deck of them all – so don’t be fooled. Everyone submits their content for review.

For outside presenters, this goes double. If you’ve got a vendor, partner, etc. coming in, make sure you know exactly what they are presenting and what’s in their deck. I’ve had lots of experience where, say a channel partner is coming in to present, and they think they are a special guest star doing me a favor. Anyone you put in front of your team not only has to have their content vetted, but should be assigned a handler or host while they are onsite. I’m not kidding. Not only is it good form and gracious to take care of your guests, it will keep them from freelancing on you. I’ve seen everything from guest speakers turning their allotted 15 minutes into 45 and destroying the agenda, to actively recruiting reps, so have a plan for outside speakers.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

Treat SKO Follow-Up Like You Would Treat Event Follow-Up

You want to make all that effort pay off and have a long life. You put a lot of effort into developing a great theme and lots of great content to support it so keep it going. Use the theme for QBRs and other sales enablement efforts. Build new assets and enablement tools using your SKO theme and keep it going. Gamify it, create leaderboards, contests, teams, etc. And just like a prospect event, expect to continue to reinforce the SKO messages and learnings. You’ll need nurture and enablement campaigns to keep folks engaged and continuing to develop and grow.

One thing I’ve found to be particularly effective is to get your speakers to agree to do a follow up webinar. This really helps reinforce learning, as well as creates an asset that can be accessed over and over.

Things That Come Up Every Year… And are Always a Struggle

Who Gets To Go

I hate this part. I wish I had some perfect way to determine who gets to attend each year. I will say it makes people’s year to get to attend. In fact, I found out recently someone on my team that was not scheduled to attend nearly quit over it. This person was totally devastated. There’s always a budget component, so you’ll need to make some tough calls. Just keep in mind, SKO can also go a long way to motivating people, so think strategically about who should attend.

Roommate or No Roommate

Nobody likes sharing a room, but some people get downright nasty about room sharing. It doesn’t really bother me, so if I think I can get more people to the event in a cost-effective way I’m usually for the room share. Sorry everybody! What I will say is it does create a nice little incentive to have in your back pocket. The most effective sales spiff I’ve ever seen is the-single-room-at-an-event, so use that to your advantage!

Rookie Moves & Lessons Learned

Rolling Out Comp Plans at SKO

Yep, I tried this. We presented comp plans on the last day of our SKO. We had an awesome event with great engagement, high energy and nothing but “let’s go take on the world” vibes, and we killed it, we killed it dead. Nothing like dropping the news that quotas were going up to completely crush the mojo. Save comp plans for individual one-on-one meetings between salespeople and their manager.

Long Bus Trips Suck

Doesn’t matter what cool venue you think everyone will love, after about 20 minutes on a bus, things get grumpy. I’ve experienced everything from breakdowns, to missed flights, to the anger of a busload of salespeople who just want a drink and a good meal at the end of a long day. Stay close to the hotel – the faster you get people to the dinner/fun/event/mixer the better.

Rotate Presenters, Not People

You might be tempted to rotate people from breakout room to breakout room as a way to keep everyone energized, especially late in the afternoon. It seems to make sense if you get people up and moving, they’ll be less susceptible to PowerPoint fatigue. But here’s the thing; no matter how many signs you put up with bright, flashing neon arrows directing salespeople where to go next, inevitably some of them will find a way to get “lost” in transition.

The slip-away-to-make-a-call, or duck-out-to-answer-an-email types are inevitably going to try to convince you that a deal hangs in the balance, or a customer has gone “red,” or some other reason they need to miss the next session.

Not only that, but once this gaggle gets loose in the halls, it’s nearly impossible to herd them back into submission. Avoid all that by rotating presenters to each breakout room, and keep the schedule tight. Yes, folks will be sitting in one room for perhaps an entire half day, but they’ll be getting new and fresh content, along with different speakers to break up the monotony. This is an excellent opportunity to build in interactivity, fun and showcase your theme. Remember the airplane drink cart?

Hold a Final, General Session

Don’t just let your event peter out. The last day is usually for breakout sessions and it’s tempting for folks to just kind of disperse. You kicked off with a great, energetic general session, so end the same way. Get everyone back together, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Recap what you’ve done. We’ve always put together a video from the week’s event that we show at the end to re-energize folks after a tiring couple of days. Could be just some b-roll of parties and sessions or something more produced, but put an exclamation point on your SKO.

Flu Shots, Not Tequila Shots & Headshots

Last but not least, forgo the tequila shots and headshots, and have everyone get flu shots. This year we had a mini epidemic spread through our ranks. Nobody escaped, and post-FKO (we call it Field Kick Off) half the company was decimated. Seriously, think about the effects of putting lots of folks in close quarters for a few days and how you can help keep your team healthy.

Final Thoughts – Make it Your Time to Shine

Whether you’re a new CMO of five months like myself, or a veteran of a dozen SKOs, treat each one like an opportunity to showcase what Marketing can do for the Sales organization, and beyond. Create an awesome experience, paying attention to all the details, and treat your salespeople just like you would your customers at a field event – because, ultimately they are your customers.

One of the other reasons I get so excited for SKO is I know it’s the perfect time to show the company all of the things my team had been working so hard on behind the scenes. This year, we launched new messaging, a new thought leadership video series, a new customer appreciation program, and lots of new content for the sales team.

We did dozens of things to play off our theme, some fun, some more serious. But the bottom line was, people were totally fired up. Our jokes (even the lame ones) were working, sessions were running on time, and the content was on point – mostly because we were well prepared, but also because we got folks in a state of acceptance and trust by showing them real, tangible programs and deliverables, not plans.

FKO wrapped up and our internal Slack channel was on fire. People wanting the new First Call deck, wanting to know how can they could get their hands on the customer testimonial videos we showed, and on and on. I was on cloud nine. That is, until the aches started… then the fever. In my weakened state I thought I’d dip back into the Slack channel for an inspirational pick-me-up, thinking folks would still be buzzing. Nope. No more gushing over the awards dinner, no more asking where they could get their avatar. Just lots of talk about fever, sweating, hacking, even some oozing I think. Web MD had nothing on us.

One silver lining, however, is that I learned we employ a bunch of mad scientists as Slack was now full of magical remedies ranging from crushed garlic to burnt sage alkaline drips to bizarre rituals involving livestock or something – I lost track after a while.

So, as I said, we lost about 80% of our FKO attendees for the next week or so. Did one of our competitors sabotage us? Did Walgreens stock need a boost? We’ll never know, but from now on its flu shots or you don’t attend, swag will be hand sanitizer, and we’ll have mandatory hydration breaks.

Oh, and I’m rethinking karaoke… Something about pressing our lips to a mic we’re all spitting into and passing around as we wail Bon Jovi tunes seems like it might have been a contributor to the great Napa petri dish episode.

Read More: Gamification: A Game-Changer for Inspiring Your Sales Teams

What’s Happening to Brand Loyalty?

What’s Happening to Brand Loyalty?

criteo logoIn this, the age of infinite options, the digitally savvy consumer is truly in control. This means unquestioning brand loyalty no longer dominates as it did decades ago. Back when product information was relatively hard to come by, consumers knew that the best route to purchase satisfaction was to trust brands and stay loyal to them for life. Their pre-purchase research was limited to the newspaper, magazine, and TV ads they saw, and sometimes a fancy full-color brochure. Therefore, from groceries to apparel, to autos and virtually all other product categories, consumers stayed true to their trusted brands. There was much less to choose from, and they even less information on the items they did have to choose from.

Those days are long gone. Today, product choices seem endless and the information about those products is everywhere. Today’s consumers are well armed with the knowledge that they need in order to make choices that fit their desires, but trust is still a key factor. Consumers demand product and vendor quality, and they rely on social media and other online feedback to get information on who’s trustworthy and who’s not. Needless to say, today’s brands have to work extremely hard to attract and hang onto new customers.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

To market your own brand successfully, you need to understand these five key characteristics of today’s shopping environment:

Brand Loyalty Is Winnable

If you’re trying to attract new customers you’ll be happy to hear that 73% of today’s shoppers are willing to consider a new brand. The decline in brand loyalty can be blamed on product quality, a lack of selection, or better prices elsewhere. A consumer might even come in contact with a new brand with superior customer service, and instantly be swayed into making a purchase, not thinking twice about the competing brand they may have purchased from prior. Brands that offer incentives such as easy delivery or a flexible return policy can get a step ahead in attracting a consumer. People are simply too busy for a bad shopping experience these days.

Grocery and Apparel Shoppers Easiest to Attract

Not surprisingly, grocery and apparel shoppers are the most willing to try something new. There are simply so many brands available now that the temptation to try something new is always there. In fashion, direct-to-consumer brands such as Everlane, Warby Parker, Casper, and Rent the Runway are vastly appealing to consumers. Not surprisingly, consumers are also easily drawn to new brands of consumer electronics, health and beauty. This is the new state of retail.

Brand Values Make a Definite Difference

While price and selection are important, let’s remember that brand values are more important to consumers than ever. Today’s shopper is often very attracted to a brand’s core values and whether they align with their own personal beliefs; so much so that 51% of shoppers say that brand values affect their purchase decisions. Therefore, those values are often a key element in brand marketing. From food to fashion to fitness, a brand’s values give consumers something they can believe in and support.

Plenty of Paths to Loyalty

Many factors drive consumers to a purchase. Low price matters, but that alone isn’t enough. Today it pays to use a combination of purchase tools to attract your customers. Price, selection, customer service and location can be key drivers for some, but uniqueness, reward programs and attractive payment options can be just as crucial.

Brand-Discovery Options Abound

Product information is everywhere, whether it’s online and offline, but so are consumers. Therefore, a strong cross-platform presence is a necessity. Facebook, YouTube, and websites are all great awareness builders, but they’re just the start. Are you on Instagram and Pinterest? Twitter, Snapchat? How’s your blog presence, and do you work with influencers? Is your E-mail Marketing up to speed? A well-balanced channel lineup can work wonders for your brand awareness.

The key to driving brand loyalty with today’s consumers is giving them a seamless shopping experience they’ll want to keep coming back to again and again. When you’re easy to find, shop with, and get help from after the sale, you become the brand that’s remembered for future shopping. When planting the seeds for customer satisfaction, brand loyalty blossoms.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Why Bot-Driven Email Data Solutions are Problematic

Why Bot-Driven Email Data Solutions are Problematic

250ok logoGoogle will stop all third-party use of Gmail inbox data to inform an email data staple called “panel data” on March 31. For the uninitiated, much to the frustration of privacy-minded individuals, email panel data broke down behaviors of real people and provide information about email engagement, activity and success.

The loss of Gmail’s data is especially problematic for vendors who rely on panel data for recipient and engagement information, despite its known shortcomings. They need a new way to provide comparable insights to their customers.

Companies (such as Return Path and eDataSource) are introducing computer-generated alternatives to create simulated inbox engagement meant to mimic human behavior and appear as real, engaged recipients. This approach is problematic for a number of reasons.

Companies such as Google, Microsoft and Verizon have never taken kindly to any attempt to circumvent spam filtering, and there is no indication they will treat simulated inbox engagement any differently. In the past, they acted with extreme prejudice against those they perceived to be bad actors, so marketers using these data networks could see a direct negative impact on their reputation.

Industry experts are expecting the worst because this method of creating data is not new. Boris Mizhen, a US-based spammer, was sued by Microsoft for creating fake accounts and using bots to move hundreds of thousands of his messages at Hotmail from spam into inboxes in an attempt to exploit spam filters.

Simulated inbox engagement is simply the latest iteration of employing inauthentic human behavior. Using past attempts as examples, the industry has a good idea of how such forced engagement will cause more problems than solutions.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Valuable Insights Will Be Skewed

Marketers track metrics based on real users and engagements. For example, a savvy marketer might keep their eye on message open rate. If a bot opens up one message but does not open another because of an algorithm, rather than an emotional (or unemotional) response to a subject line, that data isn’t necessarily representative of the email’s resonance with the audience. Any metric driven by human intentions and emotions, which is basically all of them, will be skewed by bots without the capability to react authentically.

Data from Robo-seeds Won’t Accurately Approximate Real User Inboxes

You can’t fool Gmail. For example, marketers still try to engineer their way into the inbox tab of their choice even though Gmail sorts mail appropriately for a reason (because recipients expect promotions to be in the promotions tab). Beyond that, bot-driven data solutions don’t take into account another major human component of email: recipient-level filtering. Once Gmail has an engagement signal from a user, either positive or negative, they are likely to prefer that data point over their general algorithm. At its most basic, it’s trying to reverse-engineer Gmail filters, and that’s rarely a successful endeavor.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Innocent Senders May Be Harmed

Simulated inbox engagement could likely have one major casualty: senders impacted by bot sign-ups who don’t even benefit from these bot-data providers. Nothing is stopping simulated inboxes from subscribing to email of non-customers, which means the bot can mark the sender’s messages as spam, regardless of how a human might interact with the message. These innocent bystanders could be penalized as a result of imitated inbox engagement without having the benefit of access to the data provided by the vendors. 250ok customers are already reporting dozens of bot sign-ups on their email lists, and they certainly are not paying for the insight provided by them. Is that ethical?

It’s Just Plain Different

The major appeal of email panel data was the fact it was real users. Real users provided true insight into behavior, what works, what doesn’t, and so on. These were authentic lists with actual humans. Replacing the value of panel data with a simulated solution just doesn’t cut it. You’re not comparing apples to apples. In fact, you’re comparing humans to computers. Do those things provide the same value to marketers? Probably not.

While Google’s shift in data policy is sending waves through the email industry, there are safe and effective alternatives to bot-driven email data solutions. By combining an optimized seedlist testing strategy with advanced analytics, a company can keep gathering valuable insights and steer clear of the inevitable bot crackdown.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

Anomaly Detection on 5G: Possibilities and Opportunities

Anomaly Detection on 5G: Possibilities and Opportunities

crunchmetrics logoThe much-awaited revolution is nearly here

While the 5G PR machinery has been on a roll for a while now, there’s finally a clear picture of when exactly we can expect the technology to hit our shores. Come March 2020, and India will be witness to the latest advancements in cellular technology, entailing some very impressive features and benefits.

As the world has moved from connected devices to cars and further onto factories, the need for enhanced communication technology has amplified multiple fold. The introduction of 5G, which will offer blazing data speeds, minimized latency and higher system capacity at reduced costs, will thus open up an unprecedented range of applications.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Why’s there so much hype this time around? What’s the big difference?

Though you may be forgiven for thinking that 5G is just another generation of communication technology, the truth is that it will usher in a world of difference in terms of performance and operations. Let’s take a quick look at the highlights of what the previous generations of technology have offered before we compare just the last two:

  • 1G – Voice calls
  • 2G – Voice calls + messaging
  • 3G – Voice calls + messaging + multimedia & internet data services
  • 4G LTE – High speed (functionalities mostly the same)

Now, it’s from 4G to 5G that there’s been the biggest leap yet — both in terms of performance and the way the whole setup operates. Here’s a summarized comparison of the major metrics in both the bands:

Band/Parameter 4G LTE 5G
Frequency of operation 2.1 GHz 6–60 GHz
Speed 10–20 Mbps 20 Gbps
Latency 100–200 milliseconds 1 millisecond
Average range (from a tower) 10 km 300 m
Device coverage density 1 million devices per 500 km2 1 million devices per 1 km2

What’s interesting to note is that while 5G can support a much higher device density at blazing fast speeds when compared to 4G, it requires a tower every 300 meters. In other words, its range is considerably shorter than that of 4G due to its usage of high-frequency signals, which cannot travel very long distances.

Yet, the promise of 5G is immense — just the fact that it embodies three features, viz, unparalleled speed, device coverage density and low latency, alone makes it ideal for fundamentally new use cases in applications and business models across a variety of industries including retail, transport, government and entertainment. Let’s take a look at some of these:

The Perks

Some of the most progressive advancements in digital transformation are yet to see the light of day for want of 5G technology to ensure feasibility as well as scalability. A few of the major applications urgently awaiting the breakthrough are listed below:

  • Self-driving, connected cars: The extremely low latency of 5G networks will be able to facilitate decisions for autonomous vehicles on a real-time basis. This, in turn, can help reduce and eventually, eliminate road accidents, leading to safer, smoother traffic — a major necessity in today’s increasingly populated and frenzied times.
  • IoT networks: With the number of IoT-enabled devices set to explode in just about a year (86 billion sensors and devices will be deployed in the consumer segment alone by 2020, according to Forbes estimates), faster, more streamlined communication among the growing number of devices is rapidly turning from a ‘nice-to-have’ into a ‘need-to-have’. The only technology capable of supporting this proliferation of devices is 5G, which will, therefore, play a critical role in the continued development of smart factories and manufacturing processes.
  • Real-time robotic surgeries: The exceptional speed and low latency of 5G will, for the first time, make it possible to support remote execution of surgeries, with doctors and patients literally located on opposite sides of the world – and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)-enabled robots carrying out the necessary procedures.
  • Smart watches, VR, AR and drones: A large number of relatively new inventions that require constant interactions with the environment/ other devices to enable accurate, seamless operations have been unable to witness full-fledged rollouts due to a lack of the speed and bandwidth afforded by 5G.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Proactively eliminating known and latent risks: Anomaly Detection on 5G

It’s inevitable that with the emergence of new inventions and technologies, there will arise new challenges. However, taking appropriate countermeasures can help business overcome these challenges, effectively mitigating the associated risks involved.

At CrunchMetrics, that’s exactly what we aim to do. We leverage a combination of statistical methods and AI and ML-based algorithms to detect anomalies in your data and alert you in real time – so that you can take preventive action to avert business-critical issues and leverage profit-generating opportunities. A few of our use cases are explained below:

  • Network Operations: With increased speeds, networks become more vulnerable to hackers, viruses or other malicious threats that can halt operations for anything ranging from a few minutes to a number of hours. Anomaly detection can proactively identify such threats before they happen, and immediately alert telecom providers to take appropriate action and manage the threat.
  • Customer Experience: With towers placed at distances of 300 meters each, telecom operators are required to keep a close tab on a large number of assets to ensure high network connectivity at all times, as even the slightest drop in connectivity can lead to dissatisfied users. CrunchMetrics constantly monitors upload and download speeds and immediately alerts operators in case of a significant decrease in either case, so that they can deploy resources as quickly as possible to resolve the glitch.
  • Infrastructure management: The introduction of 5G entails the use of considerable new infrastructure in the form of hardware, software and algorithms to enable 5G, for instance, mmWaves (millimeter waves), multi-user massive MIMO (Multi Input Multi Output), beamforming, small cells and full duplex. These functions like the links of a long chain. Now, it’s a well-known fact that the more the number of links in a chain, the higher its vulnerability. With CrunchMetrics’ automated anomaly detection, any long-term or short-term breakdowns can be taken care of by instantaneously alerting users when anomalies are detected during routine monitoring of metrics.

CrunchMetrics is an AI-powered real-time anomaly detection tool, which can be leveraged to automatically identify anomalies in a number of key performance indicators across telecom processes.

How well protected are you against future, apparently “unpredictable” incidents? Are you willing to leave business stability and continuity to chance? Find out what you can do to arrive at favorable answers to both these questions — request a demo now, or get in touch with us to schedule a quick, friendly discussion to explore your options.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

How Moz’s New Domain Authority Takes Aim at Spam

How Moz's New Domain Authority Takes Aim at Spam

moz logoWhen I first joined Moz as Principal Search Scientist in 2015, I held the same attitude towards web spam as most marketers: spam was a mostly harmless annoyance to webmasters and was directed primarily at search engines such as Google. However, with the launch of Link Explorer (our new link index) in 2018, I became acutely aware of the impact of link manipulation — not just on search engines, but on webmasters and marketers in ways not yet fully articulated.

The negative impact of link manipulation on the web

Link manipulation, for those not yet familiar, is the use of tactics to increase the number of links pointing to your website in order to achieve some goal (normally improved rankings). However, it turns out that link manipulation has played a darker, more sinister role over the previous half decade or so as Domain Authority (DA), a proprietary Moz metric that predicts a site’s ability to rank in Google, has become a virtual currency. Guest blog posts, comment spam, Private Blog Networks (PBNs), link farms, and directories across the board are selling their wares based on how high their Domain Authority score is. Subsequently, some webmasters would use link manipulation techniques to artificially inflate their DA, allowing them to fraudulently charge high prices.

It was a real and present problem, and we were uniquely suited to solve it.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

How we adjusted Domain Authority to combat spammers

When I and others at Moz sat down to reconsider the Domain Authority metric, we knew we wanted to address Domain Authority not simply for the purposes of predicting search rankings (which is and will always be the primary intent), but to also address the artificial Domain Authority inflation causing harm across the web. We began by identifying the types of link manipulation regularly used to inflate Domain Authority. These methods included comment spam, link buying, and several varieties of link networks. Most importantly, we needed to devalue these techniques without impacting the predictive power of Domain Authority. We needed to rebuild DA from the ground up.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

How did we teach DA to recognize link manipulation?

Historically, we built Domain Authority by applying Machine Learning to link data and search engine results pages (SERPs): The algorithm would learn what causes one domain to outrank another. Unfortunately, this methodology had its limits. Training against SERPs meant that the resulting metric would only learn to discriminate between sites that already rank — not sites that don’t rank at all. Since link manipulation often results in penalties or bans by search engines, the neural network had few bad examples from which to learn. To answer this, we seeded our training set with known unranked sites in position 10 on the SERPs. The neural network powering Domain Authority could now distinguish between sites that rank and those that don’t. We also introduced “profile variables” from which the neural network could learn. I’ll explain a few below:

Spam Score as a Profile Variable

We created a unique variable that represents the distribution of links to your site based on the Spam Scores of those linking domains. The average website has a negative power relationship between Spam Scores and linking domains. That is to say, most of their links come from very low Spam Score domains, and very few of their links come from high Spam Score domains.

On the graph below, you can see the natural curve highlighted in green. You can also see examples of two sites which do not conform to this curve. They don’t conform because they are using a particular type of link manipulation tactic that tends to source domains that are slightly spammier than the average domain on the web. Subsequently, their link profile sticks out like a sore thumb.


Traffic and Linking domains as a profile variable

We created another unique variable that represents the distribution of links to your site based on the traffic to those linking domains. Much like Spam Scores, the average website has a negative power relationship between traffic and linking domains. Most links come from low-trafficked sites, while only a handful of links come from high-trafficked sites. Any deviation from this pattern is a signal the neural network could use to identify link manipulation.

With these novel variables and unique training set in place, we were confident the new Domain Authority would perform head-over-heels better than it had previously. Not only did we establish the highest DA correlations with SERPs in recent history, we successfully devalued link manipulation in a number of industries:

  • On average, the Domain Authority of link buyers dropped 15.7%
  • High-, medium-, and low-quality auction domains dropped in DA 61%, 95%, and 98% respectively
  • On average, link sellers lost 56% of DA
  • Comment spammers lost 34% of DA
  • Link networks lost 79% of DA
  • Domainer networks lost 98% of DA

Why is this important to the marketing industry?

Well, there are several important outcomes delivered by the new Domain Authority.

  1. Webmasters can feel more comfortable that the Domain Authority metric is not being manipulated when considering content placement or domain acquisition.
  2. Unscrupulous SEO practitioners will have a harder time fooling customers with inflated DA.
  3. SEO practitioners who use dubious techniques will not be able to rely on increasing DA scores as customer KPIs.
  4. Webmasters can rely on Domain Authority as a strong indicator of potential rankings.

We’ve taken strides to ensure Domain Authority is used as a fair and trustworthy metric for digital marketers, hopefully doing our part to rid the web of spam while we’re at it. But there’s always more room for improvement, and we plan to keep innovating to provide the most valuable and reliable metrics for the digital marketing industry.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Cost of Overdoing It: Marketing’s Glaring Problem

Cost of Overdoing It (COI): Marketing’s Glaring Problem

pfl logoMarketers have been cranking up the volume of emails, banners ads, and social posts they deliver. These tools are cheap or free, so why not, right?

Unfortunately, return on investment (ROI) metrics don’t capture the cost of flooding audiences with digital fluff. Conditioning people to unsubscribe from email lists and block ads is costly for our entire industry. Let’s give this cost a name and measure it. How about COI: cost (of) overdoing it.

Enough, thank you

What do I mean by overdoing it? One estimate says that an average American was exposed to 500 advertisements per day in the 1970s and saw 5,000 daily by 2006 – that is, before the iPhone arrived and social networking exploded. As the volume of advertisements has grown, so has the backlash.

Adblocking costs the global advertising industry $75 billion annually, and more than a quarter of Americans now use an adblocker. It’s not just banners being blocked. There’s to mass unsubscribe from email lists; SaneBox (my personal favorite) to filter out marketing newsletters; News Feed Eradicator to block out Facebook’s advertising stream; Freedom to block the entire Internet if all else fails.

Adweek notes that a study by Choozle, a marketing platform, had to exclude 53 percent of the participants for using adblockers. Of the remaining participants, only seven percent viewed online ads positively.

Email is hardly better. An Adobe Report found that although 70 percent of marketers use email for promotions, only eight percent of consumers are “very satisfied” with them. Put differently, if you gave Adobe your email address to download that report, you’d have 92 percent odds of not being “very satisfied” with the resulting emails.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

Who’s doing the work?

How do we unscramble this contradiction in which marketers deliver more and more of what their audiences dislike?

Anything underpriced is overconsumed, and publishing digital information is ridiculously cheap. In 1971, the computer scientist and psychologist Herbert Simon spotted the problem with underpricing information. In a speech at Carnegie Mellon University he said, “What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

It’s a well-known quote. What he added soon after is often missed, “In an information-rich world, most of the cost of information is the cost incurred by the recipient. It is not enough to know how much it costs to produce and transmit information; we must also know how much it costs, in terms of scarce attention, to receive it.”

In other words, one content marketer is unlikely to expend more time than the 50,000 people who read her email. If the email is fluffy — likely if the marketer must write tons of promotional emails — it costs readers in productivity, time, distraction, and energy. ROI metrics miss that cost, but COI doesn’t.

Gambling $7.5 million

I doubt that marketers want to perpetuate an attention arms race or waste people’s time, but they may not see alternatives. If all my competitors are cranking up the volume, how do I not? Maybe COI can change our perspective on this dilemma.

A Salesforce study found that the average B2B company’s email database has 50,000 individuals. A company spends an average of $150 to acquire each address, so they’re worth $7.5 million.

If over-blasting this audience scares away one subscriber, the COI is $150, not counting the opportunity cost. If you drive away 100 audience members, the COI is $15,000 at minimum.

So, you spent $150 for an audience member. Each superfluous email is like going back to that person and saying, “Are you sure you wanted this? Really? Still sure? How about now? The unsubscribe button is right there…” Although you might spend little to send an unnecessary email, you’re gambling $7.5 million when you do.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Changing the odds

My argument is that attention isn’t neutral — it can have a positive or negative value. When we crank up the volume of marketing too high, we risk dividing attention by a negative value. We may pay the cost of overdoing it.

People do not crave more digital marketing and in fact, spend money to block it out. Yet marketers keep piling on the cheap communications, as if annoying an audience were free.

It takes courage to resist this norm, to leave digital inundation to competitors. But marketers who have the nerve to be unconventional win outsized victories.

Take direct mail for example — an old, analog and suddenly novel marketing tactic in today’s digital world. Forrester Research recently issued a report saying that B2B buyers are overwhelmed by cheap and easy digital engagement – and that direct mail cuts through the content clutter and sparks more conversations. Sending something ‘tactile’ in the mail makes an emotional connection and creates an experience for the recipient. (In full disclosure, this is one of the things my company PFL does.)

Marketers who go analog with direct mail or physical gifts will spend more dollars per interaction. But not only do those strategies actually work, they require that marketers price information fairly – for themselves and for their audience.

Marketing doesn’t need to ditch digital. We can choose to provide information worth knowing and moments worth having. To get there, we must cut the fluff and stop overdoing it.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

22 Creative Real Estate Marketing Tactics To Inspire You

22 Creative Real Estate Marketing Tactics To Inspire You

edgeonline logoSean Clancy SEO director Edge Online

With the number of licensed real estate agents in the country continuously growing, a real estate professional like you needs to bring your A-game to your marketing strategies to stand out among the competition!

Fortunately, the digital space has allowed more marketing methods to emerge. Couple this with a little creativity and your properties will be selling like hotcakes!

Ready to level up your marketing game? Check out these 22 creative real estate marketing tactics!

Have a mega open house tour that will leave your guests in awe

Invite everyone in your database, the neighbors, and every potential buyer that matches your target market. With a promise of good food and a good time!

Then bring out your alas to bringing the life in your open house tour. Invite food trucks or catering services. Bring some music to the venue. If you’re inviting prospects with kids, a bounce house is a must!

Tip: Since this is a mega open house tour, limit your showing to just one open house. With a limited schedule, more people will show up. [click-to-tweet]

Give a virtual tour

If you want to convince your leads more that this property is worth their every penny, immerse them with a virtual tour.

In these tours, the layout of the property is laid out in a 3D view, where they can interact with the video to check each area of the house.

These tours also give prospects from foreign countries to check out the property first before they hop on a plane and ask for a tour!

See these VR tour samples for inspirations:

Try out experiential marketing

Experiential marketing is all about building a connection with your leads and network, with the intent that they’ll associate you or your property with a positive experience. Which, hopefully, will lead them to do business with you.


Building rapport in the local community can help you build credibility as a buyer/seller’s advocate. And more exposure for your brand, too.

You can partner with local builders and work a partnership where in exchange for free or discounted repairs/remodels, you’ll advertise them to potential clients.

Or a local furniture shop, where you can put in a good word about them in exchange for lending you a piece of furniture to complete the property’s looks.

You can also work a deal with local businesses, like local diners for example, where you’ll provide them with supplies with your branding on them.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Get on Snapchat

Facebook is getting saturated, so you should try out undiscovered social media gems like Snapchat.

The competition here is low, but the scope of audience is wide!


Partner with an influencer

The challenge here is to find an influencer that matches your target market, but once you find the perfect influencer, you can earn a positive brand image and more leads!


Hire a professional photographer/videographer

Professionally-captured photos of your listing make a lasting impression, and positive impressions mean higher sales price!

When you hire a professional photographer, you’re not only saving time but also with extra costs brought by amateur photos.

Plus, you want to highlight all the good angles and lightings of the property. A professional photographer has the eye and skills for that.

Remember, no matter how gorgeous your property looks in person, if prospects are not convinced with the photos they see of it online, then don’t expect appointments for tours.

Show the highlights of your properties on Pinterest boards

What better way to create lists of good photos of your listings with brief-but-concise information than on Pinterest?

With the 250 million active users on Pinterest, it’s the ideal platform to showcase your listings visually and attract more leads in the process!

You can create a Pinterest board for your listing, say per area, then create a sub board for more photos of each property.

Go with videos for your marketing materials

Real estate professionals have embraced video marketing since it provided better results for their efforts, particularly in response and engagement rate, and will continue to do so.

They also allow more ways to advertise and educate your target market in a personalized and more entertaining manner.


Pay attention to the pieces of furniture in your property before posting it online

Bring more life to the property and attract the right leads by placing pieces of furniture in different areas of the property that matches its theme.

For instance, you can opt for steel or metallic style furniture for a modern look.

Or champagne-drowned furniture for a luxurious and royal look.

And if you’re targeting millennials, be sure to highlight aesthetics of the property. These people love visually appealing photos!

But of course, you don’t have to spend too much to get the look you’re advertising. You can shop at thrift stores for unique items or partner with local furniture shops (see idea #4).

Add more luxury vibes to your property with drone shots

If you have the budget to go extra with your property marketing, opt for this one. Drone shots can provide better views of the property at different angles, in a cinematic way. Amenities are highlighted too, whether in aerial view or up close.

Speaking of budget, drone photography can be quite expensive, so it’s more suitable for real estate agents with luxurious listings targeted to high-class buyers.

It’s also ideal to hire professional drone photographers/videographers to save more and get the best drone shots of your listings.

Sell a property by letting potential buyers visualize their life on the property

Buyers take interest in a property if they see it fit for their lifestyle, so help them visualize it in your listing.

What it would be like for someone like your target buyer to live a day in the property? Is it a peaceful one, or a life with the bustle of the metropolitan life?


You can try this idea by collaborating with an influencer (see idea #6). Or hire an actor that matches the looks and personality of your target market, and shoot a lifestyle video in the property.

Take this one from The Logan and Bernard Group:

List the property on Airbnb and let buyers experience a day or two there

Speaking of sneak peek, here’s another idea you can try to let potential buyers visualize their life in your listing.

Let your prospects have first-hand experience with the property so they will be more convinced that it’s the perfect investment for him/her.

It’s a more helpful experience than just walking them through around the house in an hour or less!

To ensure that only interested prospects will book the property, emphasize it on the description.

Note: Be sure to ask for the owner’s permission first before you do this!

Powerful emotional words + worth-every-penny features = a powerful copy that can increase a property’s worth

In marketing, power words are your ultimate weapons to invoke emotions of your leads and add more punch to your copy.

Which leads to more social shares, clickthrough rate, and web traffic.

Match these words with highlights of your listing, and you’ll see a surge in properties sold, even at a price higher than the market price!

It doesn’t have to be full of flair or wittiness. Even simple words can bring you tremendous sales.

For a list of these power words, check this article.

Become the digital mayor of your farm area

Mayors are known as the father figure of a town, whose major responsibility includes taking care of their people by knowing his municipality well.

And that’s what exactly you need to be – an authority that knows their industry and area well, both to market your listings/service and nurture your farm area.

Clients also feel more convinced (and impressed!) when their agent knows the area of the property well.

YOU CAN PROCLAIM YOURSELF AS THE DIGITAL MAYOR OF YOUR AREA BY_You can also check out Park Bench, a platform that helps you claim your title as the go-to agent in your local area.

Create landing pages with home valuation tools

Entice your leads more to engage with you by incorporating a lead generation tool on your landing page. One of the best tools for real estate landing pages are home valuation tools.

You can have a small section on your website where a website visitor will only enter their ad. They have to provide their email address next so you can deliver them the results.


With this, you’ve provided free information, and you’ve got a new subscriber in your email list, whose open to receiving more information from you!

Increase your response rate on Facebook with Messenger Chatbots

Are you receiving plenty of messages that can easily be answered by someone else? If so, implementing a Messenger chatbot may be ideal for your business.

You can use tools online that makes chatbot implementation easier or work with a software developer. Whichever you choose, make sure to create answer templates for questions like these:

  • What are the available listings within [name of area]?
  • Which houses are in this price range?
  • What do I need to do to prepare my home for selling?

And of course, don’t forget to monitor the messages you’re receiving. Not all messages can be answered by chatbots.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Use social listening tools

It’s not enough that you get your name out in the industry. You need to pay attention to what people are saying about you so you could address concerns about your service.

Since social media have made freedom of speech easier, this is where you need to be on watch.


Social listening branches to two routines – monitoring:

  • Mentions of your brands
  • Competitor’s social media standing
  • News and updates on keywords related to your industry

With social listening, you could also get ideas on how to improve your performance as a real estate agent, and even how to improve your listings!

Keep in touch with your clients even after the closing

70% of clients forget the agent they hired a year after closing.

If you don’t want your clients to become a part of these numbers, make yourself relevant to them, even after your transaction is done.

Share relevant information, videos, articles on social media that would be useful for the new homeowners.

Email them with resources you come across the net, and/or new listings you’ve got. Maybe they’re looking to buy again!

Keep them updated with the latest on their new community. [click-to-tweet]

Celebrate achievements with clients on social media

Just closed? New property bought? Announce them on social media! Just ensure you have your client’s permission.


People feel a tinge of pride and contentment when they’re featured on a business’ social media feed, especially if it’s good news that involves them.

It also gives a more humane touch to your social media presence, that you’re not just all photos of listings and real estate tips and news.

Encourage more people to refer you to their contacts

You want these sources to continue sending clients your way, so keep them motivated with rewards.

You can work on a refer-a-friend program where they’ll get $10 or gift cards for every referral (and an additional reward if the referral is successful).

Or an affiliate program, where bloggers and influencers will include affiliate links on their content, and they’ll earn rewards/privileges for every referral.

Whichever referral program you use, make sure it’s discoverable by website visitors, your social media followers, your present and previous clients and other contacts.

Host an event in the property that matches your target market


Entice your target market to check out the property themselves by inviting them to an event hosted in the property you’re selling. This way, they  could see that the property is the perfect investment for them.

If you’re targeting families, why not host a BBQ party?

If you’re targeting people with luxurious lifestyles, you can host a gallery night or a cocktail party.

The events could also incorporate a good memory with the place, which convinces potential buyers more to invest in the property!

Creative marketing strategies + tracking and evaluation of results = more success in the future

At the end of the day, you want to make sure the campaigns you’re running are effective for your real estate business.

Because some of these tactics may work better than the others, and you want to leverage that to your future marketing strategies.

Track your results and evaluate its performance to answer the ultimate post-marketing question:

Did you gain a huge ROI and more leads and sales with the strategy?

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

How to Fight Ad Fatigue

How to Fight AD Fatigue

mgid logoWhile global ad spend keeps growing — powered by Asia Pacific — audiences are proving harder to engage. After being targeted with the same types of irrelevant and intrusive ads, over and over, they are suffering from fatigue with some switching ads off entirely.

The issue goes beyond banners, which have gained a reputation as the key culprit for rising consumer frustration and fallen from grace in recent years. Digital ads aren’t delivering what audiences want, and that means they are struggling to boost ad impact and results. To break through, marketers must adopt new approaches focused on providing genuine value.

They need to take a look at ads from the audience perspective.

What’s behind the advertising tune out?

Consumers have lost patience with bad ads. The rise of digital has made it easier to reach audiences via multiple channels, but also led to an avalanche of ads that often prioritizes scale over relevance. In the APAC region, for instance, four in ten (47%) consumers use an ad blocker.

Mobile-specific irritation is also high. Accounting for a large chunk of media consumption — 24% worldwide — mobile has an even greater ad-blocking rate: 38% of users in APAC alone. And causes for this aversion mostly revolve around negative effect on usage; globally, 44% of ad block adopters are motivated by disruption. Clearly, the attempt to seize attention with interruptive formats, such as pop-ups and interstitials, is backfiring; especially on small screens. That’s not to mention use of generic messaging across devices, and audiences. And considering its vast share of digital ad budgets, such mobile discontent is a sizeable issue.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Delivering what consumers really want

There is a growing body of evidence to prove consumers hold experience above anything else: demanding authentic ‘human-like’ brand interaction and naming good experience as a major influence on loyalty. As a result, it’s essential for marketers to start increasing their focus on experience optimization.

Part of the process is considering how ads are received. The way ads reach audiences affects progression through the marketing funnel, so consistently aligning delivery with particular ad and channel preferences is vital. But perfect placement counts for little if ad creative misses the mark. Content is a core element of digital ad experience — in fact over 60% of consumers willingly engage with content marketing. To effectively capture audience imaginations, messages need to be much more than just ads; they must tell inspiring stories that instantly engage consumers at an individual level and seamlessly match their current context, without causing disruption. And although achieving this might sound like an impossible task, there is one format that presents a viable opportunity: native.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Harnessing the potential of native ads

Native isn’t a new ad phenomenon, but its true potential to bring marketers that are striving to connect with ad-weary audiences, is yet to be realized. For starters, there is inherent flexibility. Native ads are designed to automatically match their surroundings; meaning they can ensure real-time relevance by aligning with the content consumers have chosen to view.

Secondly, close integration with sites has the advantage of minimizing disruption; ads blend in with content instead of obscuring it, which makes them a good fit for any screen, mobile included. But in an age where everyone is competing for attention, it’s still important for marketers to keep their strategy creative if they want to realize the full potential of native ads, and maintain momentum throughout the path to purchase.

For example, video content can be used to engage consumers at the top of the marketing funnel where they are in the right mindset for discovery and more likely to interact with short, informative brand messages.

Alternatively, marketers can leverage preconceptions about native. Still frequently seen as a social media tool, its scope actually extends past newsfeeds and across the online publishing landscape. Exploring the largely untrodden path of wider sites can help marketers reconnect with individuals on the road to buying with more detailed content that uses current content consumption to reignite interest. And when it comes to tipping consumers from consideration to purchase, bespoke native messages featuring testimonials and case study snippets could seal the final deal.

To combat ad fatigue marketers must re-focus on quality over quantity, delivering ads that are powered by relevant, educational and engaging messaging, whatever the context. And that means they need to be native.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

Why Has Zuckerberg Taken a Bold Stride Towards Becoming a ‘Privacy-Focused’ Platform?

Why Has Zuckerberg Taken a Bold Stride Towards Becoming a ‘Privacy Focused’ Platform?

globalwebindex logoFor some, Mark Zuckerberg’s recent declaration that Facebook will be transformed into a ‘privacy-focused’ platform will be perceived as a tactical masterstroke.

Not only does it address concerns around data privacy, but this new direction also protects the social giant against any potential legislation on the horizon. Lawmakers who have been applying pressure on companies, including Facebook, to tighten up on the content that is shared in the digital sphere will likely be appeased by such an evolution of how the core platform functions.

For others, it is in line with the evolving behaviors of social media users, who are increasingly turning to ‘dark social’ (private messaging, email or SMS). Should this hypothesis hold true, far greater changes to how Facebook operates could well be on the horizon.

Social media is going ‘dark’

Actions such as messaging friends, updating statuses or posting photos are still prominent — 44% of Facebook users express they comment on a friend’s status updates or photos or videos every month, while 80% are “liking” or “reacting” to things. However, more “passive” behaviors such as watching videos and reading articles have also become prominent.

It’s clear that social media engagement is shifting, and this presents as much of an opportunity as a challenge to brands. As public social media platforms increasingly fulfill the role of content consumption sources, private messaging platforms are now where meaningful conversations and recommendations are taking place between peers actively engaging with each other.

We Are Social recently uncovered that, in the UK and US consumers are moving towards sharing content and recommendations through ‘dark social’. With three in five internet users in both markets preferencing it ahead of open social media platforms and word of mouth. In the UK, 22% of internet users actually share only via dark social, with WhatsApp and Facebook the go-to-services.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Monetization matters

While users of social media are increasingly becoming ‘passive’ in how they engage with platforms such as Facebook, Zuckerberg’s flagship platform still captures the most eyeballs across the world, which inevitably is paramount for ad dollars to continue to flow through.

According to André van Loon, Research and Insight Director at We Are Social highlights this trend has real significance for brands, “It used to be that you put your memories or status on Facebook for family and friends, but the trend is moving to a more discreet, private space such as Messenger or WhatsApp. This shift in behavior underlines how much conversation now happens through dark social. When people talk about holiday destinations, films/music or products they like, the things they want to do or buy, and following others’ recommendations, more and more of that is now also starting to happen in private apps and by sharing links.”

So, bringing the content sharing function in closer proximity to direct messaging actually presents a real business opportunity for its advertiser base. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Facebook is evolving, aligned with the changing engagement behaviors of consumers.

Sharing content with a large friend network accrued over many years may have an impressive reach, but it doesn’t compare to the private messaging environment, which is a lot more conducive of trust in recommendations. WhatsApp Business and Messenger’s chatbots epitomize industry initiatives to monetize these ‘dark social’ platforms. Brands looking to integrate their services across social media must focus on giving users the opportunity to follow up on recommendations that come through private messages in a streamlined way within the single platform.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

What does this shift mean for Facebook and marketers?

Let’s remember why Facebook exists, it was built first and foremost to serve the people. So, this shift to being a more ‘privacy-focused platform,” is actually taking Facebook back to its roots, and tighten up on the content being shared on the platform, which Zuckerberg himself has described as ‘the digital equivalent of a town square.’

However, while it was once the one-stop-shop for all things social, in recent years its role has matured in line with the development of the wider social media ecosystem.

It’s becoming more of a hub where people will once again have trust in the platform, and be more likely to engage with content posted by others. Whilst also stepping up to arguably better positioned private messaging services, not least Facebook’s own family of services, Messenger and WhatsApp.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

Understanding the Differences in Quantitative and Qualitative Data Sets

Understanding the Differences in Quantitative and Qualitative Data Sets

liferay logoIn order to properly market to your audience and get buy-in from relevant stakeholders, you need to have data that supports your decision to move forward with a new campaign, implement a new automation system, etc. With the abundance of statistical measurements that can be used to make a decision, it’s best to separate the data into two categories — quantitative and qualitative — in order to avoid confusion, better segment data for analysis and draw appropriate conclusions.

 Qualitative vs Quantitative Data

Quantitative data are numerical measures that help explain the current business situation, find trends and seasonality patterns within historical data and attempt to draw conclusions about what will happen in the future. These numerical measures are often presented as either a static number, a percentage or a ratio. In marketing, common forms of quantitative data include the number of page views, the conversion rate between lifecycle stages or the bounce rate from web pages. These measures have the advantage of both delivering insights and being easily manipulatable in databases. As a result, quantitative data is generally the more popular form of data within modern marketing departments.

By contrast, qualitative data looks to identify engagement among users and find out why they took the actions they did. Interviews and small group sessions are common ways of acquiring qualitative data but new marketing technologies are providing marketers with a faster way to grab this data through measurements such as heatmaps, scroll depth and page journeys. Qualitative data is usually more scarce because it’s harder to obtain and typically requires deeper analysis than simply reading a number.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Why do we need both?

Quantitative data gives us a factual idea of the present condition. That is, in all configurations and campaigns we have set up, quantitative data tells us exactly what we have going on. This type of data is useful when we want to know hard numbers for historical or current data, or when we want to troubleshoot and monitor systems. For instance, monitoring quantitative data such as the number of page views for a page on a weekly basis will give the marketer insight on when a page may be failing to load or has a lower number of views on average than others.

However, the strength of the insights derived from quantitative data is completely dependent on the marketer’s ability to interpret this raw information. Quantitative data paints a picture of how we as a company are performing, rather than looking at how users interpret the information we send them or engage with us. While these data points are useful, they are meaningless unless we can provide some insight into what they mean and how they affect our marketing efforts.

By contrast, qualitative marketing data tells us how the user is engaging with our brand and provides insights regarding their perceptions. This type of data is crucial in understanding whether our marketing campaigns and the way we present information to prospects and customers are working as intended. For example, we may know that we have 1,000 views of our home page but this won’t help us much if we don’t know how visitors are actually interacting with the content there.

It could very well be the case that many of those “views” come from a single visitor refreshing the page multiple times in the hopes of loading it faster. Here, we see a mixture of needs from both qualitative and quantitative angles — we need quantitative data to tell us how many page views we are obtaining and qualitative data to tell us what users are interacting with on the page. By segmenting the data into these two categories, we get a clearer picture of what is going on and what we should do next (quantitative) but also why the numbers are the way they are (qualitative).

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Marketing Use Case Scenario — Attributing Leads

In order to attribute leads to a specific marketing campaign, we have to use both qualitative and quantitative data. To illustrate, field marketers create campaigns, obtain leads and then push those leads over to sales in order to obtain a conversion. Quantitative data allows us to analyze the number of leads obtained per campaign, which sources they are coming from (i.e. organic search, referrals, etc.), and whether or not they have ultimately, become a “closed-won” opportunity. These numerical records depict a static image of how the marketing campaigns performed.

Once we have these numbers, the next step is to address the qualitative aspect of the process by looking at user engagement. It’s simple to say that organic search traffic accounted for 50% of lead generation within a given period but that data is of limited value if we don’t know what actually lead a prospect to become a lead. In other words, while the quantitative number tells us that organic search is performing well, we can use qualitative data to assess why that is the case. For example, if we find that the majority of users coming in through organic search traffic are viewing pages related to a specific blog and then bounce off the page, we can assume that the blog material is used for educational purposes. From there, we can recommend creating more marketing collateral on the blog’s original topic to inspire more traffic.

By understanding the actions a user went through such as pages read, white papers downloaded or nurture campaigns experienced, we gain more insight into how to replicate successful results for the future and identify exactly what is peaking user interest. In other words, it’s only through combining qualitative and quantitative data sets that we gain a complete understanding of marketing success.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

Gamification: A Game-Changer for Inspiring Your Sales Teams

Gamification: A Game-Changer for Inspiring Your Sales Teams

bigtincan logoGartner defines gamification as “The use of game mechanics and experience design to digitally engage and motivate people to achieve their goals.” In some circles, a stigma has developed around this term “gamification”—it’s now being labeled as a gimmick aimed at disguising work as a fun competition or baiting a generation of videogamers to show up to the office. That stigma misses the point entirely. Gamification isn’t a gimmick; it’s a gamechanger.

Right now, there is a gaping hole in businesses between employers and employees. Organizations set goals for the company, and those goals get lost or diluted by the time they are relayed to the workforce. Employees wind up setting personal goals they think are appropriate, but risk misaligning themselves with the enterprise as a whole. In a gamified workplace, these objectives become clear in a way that’s easy for employees to track and understand. Plus, the use of technology in gamification makes it more engaging for employees — it keeps them interested in tech that they use in their leisure time and everyday lives.

In fact, a survey by PulseLearning found that while 70 percent of employees are disengaged from their work, 75 percent say that they would be more engaged if learning included gaming dynamics. When technology and gamification go hand in hand, employees are empowered to go above and beyond—they know where they are and where they need to go. With the right tools and incentives, an organization can use gamification to fuel innovation, improve sales results, discover the best way to train employees and much more.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Gamification may be an old concept, but this is just the beginning for it

Competition among salespeople is nothing new. In fact, friendly competition is at the heart of most sales cultures, with people in sales always striving to top their own goals and sometimes, trying to best each other. This type of work environment lends itself perfectly to gamification—you can create competition and leaderboards around specific metrics with people who are already used to the concept and work well with the extra motivation. While this concept of competition in the workplace isn’t new, it’s still growing and changing.

In 2017, the global gamification market reached $3.3 billion according to That number is forecasted to grow at a compound annual rate of 36.2 percent through 2026. This includes both consumer-facing gamification aimed at customer acquisition, as well as internal gamification aimed at motivating a workforce. With the help of technology and data, gamification helps salespeople focus on metrics other than just dollar amounts. Being able to create a sense of urgency and competition around items other than sales that also make a difference in overall performance, such as sales preparation and learning, also helps contribute to the success of a business and its employees.

The benefits of gamifying your enterprise for your staff may be less obvious, but those benefits should not be overlooked. Gamification in business isn’t all about turning work into play; it’s about empowering your workforce to reach new levels of production and obtain real results that align with the objectives set forth by your organization.

Technology is changing gamification

Gamification, as we know it today, is all about mobile accessibility and real-time data. First, people want to be able to check their status up-to-the-minute, all on their phone. Second, the kind of data we can collect today allows people to be able to track progress in several areas of their goals. It’s no longer just about making sales or not making sales. It’s about collecting data around every piece of the sales cycle and being able to adjust your behavior accordingly and quickly. While mobile accessibility is at the heart of gamification in today’s workplace, AI is playing an important role as well.

A traditional gamification approach sets a linear path that people need to follow, which works most of the time. But, being able to leverage AI and present the learners with different paths allows us to take gamification to a new level. AI can provide gamified learning paths to learners based on their knowledge levels, location, previous performance, and all kinds of other data points. With the use of AI, gamification becomes more personalized and tailored to the individual employee, making it more engaging based on what they find challenging and appealing.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

When workplaces use gamification and technology, sales teams are empowered to go above and beyond

Salespeople have been motivated by commissions for ages. If you want to change the behavior of salespeople, you have to help them help themselves by increasing sales and taking home more money. The key to helping them is educating and preparing them with the latest and most relevant information on the product they’re selling. Usually, the teams who sell the most, have the most knowledge about the product. It may seem simple, but it’s harder to educate sales teams than meets the eye. Training and education requires a time commitment, something not many people have in the workforce today.

Gamification gives salespeople the motivation to take the time for continued learning and training, ultimately, benefitting themselves and the organization as a whole. According to the same PulseLearning survey, companies who used gamification saw a 60% increase in engagement in their learning programs. Above all else, gamification provides prioritization and focus. Where some sales teams may operate purely on their monetary results, they forget that keeping up to date with their product and staying sharp on the answers they may need to provide potential customers is just as important. While monetary milestones are crucial, putting the focus on things like sales preparation and education can actually lead to a higher sales success rate. When salespeople are actively involved and know their product, success is sure to follow.

Gamification is a real solution being used to combat serious real-world problems faced by enterprises every day. The importance of staff engagement and collaboration among colleagues is frequently overlooked, and when one employee discovers a process or tactic that works, there isn’t always a clear path to sharing that information. On a gamified platform, everyone sees when someone is getting great results. Some enterprises are using a gamification platform for training employees effectively on best cybersecurity practices, resulting in fewer breaches. Others are using gamification to spur sales teams to reach numbers like never before. With the right tools and incentives, an organization can use gamification to fuel innovation, improve sales results, discover the best way to train employees and more. Results like these prove that this isn’t the end for gamification… it’s just the beginning.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

Making Voice Tech More Human Is as Easy as 1-2-3

Making Voice Tech More Human Is as Easy as 1-2-3

splicesoftware logoCustomers love technology, but they crave human interaction too. Several years ago, Gartner predicted customers would manage 85 percent of their relationships with an enterprise without interacting with a human being. But a PwC survey from last year found that 82 percent of Americans and 75 percent of all consumers want to interact with a real person.

That creates a thorny dilemma for companies. Businesses are going all-in on digital transformation so they can compete and win in the future. But they also know business survival depends on their ability to consistently deliver great customer experience. So, how can companies bridge the gap between what they need to do in the digital arena and what customers want? Human Voice on Demand (HVoD) technology combines the best of both worlds by making voice tech more human. Here’s how it works:

1. Tell a Story in a Brand’s Own Voice

Human beings are hardwired for storytelling. Neuroscience suggests that hearing or reading a descriptive story engages not only the brain’s language processing centers but also sensory perception regions of our grey matter. When we hear or read a story, the action takes place inside our heads, and the act of imagination that ensues imparts a richer experience than being spoon-fed someone else’s vision on a screen. (Maybe that’s why the book is almost always better than the movie!)

But to engage that level of imagination, we require trust and a sense of safety. Conversation allows people to communicate intuitively, discuss abstract concepts and get what they want. Maslow’s hierarchy outlines that people need a baseline of security before they can engage in a relationship. That’s true of interpersonal relationships as well as the relationship between a person and a brand. By virtue of its ability to deliver a rich experience to listeners, voice is uniquely capable of establishing trust and safety and enabling such relationships.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

2. Get Emotional with Customers

Lived experience might explain why many so consumers would rather talk to a person than an automated voice system. Early voice tech applications often failed to deliver a great experience. Who among us hasn’t been trapped in a nightmarish, endless loop with an automated voice response system, unable to get answers to basic questions or to reach someone who can? More modern chatbots may be an improvement, but they can come across like an overly scripted salesperson who doesn’t respond to emotional cues.

Modern voice tech can eliminate that issue. With HVoD, companies can deploy emotionally-relevant content that creates trust and safety, engaging customers on voice-first devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home (as well as other channels like Inbound and Outbound PBX, Chatbots, Virtual Agents, SMS and email). Brands can have a unique voice that resonates with their customers and can build and use a brand-centric audio content library, creating scripts and conversations from industry and use case-specific templates so that customers are engaged in an appropriate tone.

3. Solve Customer Problems and Answer Questions

A well-designed HVoD system can harness the power of voice to inspire trust and create connections with a customer experience that feels more human. But an AI-enabled, data-driven HVoD solution also offers advantages human agents can’t match, like the ability to analyze huge datasets in an instant, identify patterns and quickly find answers.

This super-human processing capacity is why AI is already transforming the practice of medicine, with deep learning applications capable of evaluating medical images like X-rays to diagnose conditions with almost 100 percent accuracy. As one physician at Massachusetts General Hospital put it, “We’re at a point right now where doctors can’t keep up with everything they need to know. We need a machine to help us do that.” In a customer service and marketing context, customers appreciate accurate answers, even if they come from a machine.

So, if there is a dilemma because a company needs to automate customer interactions, but customers want the personal touch, the solution is the best of both worlds: technology that is more natural sounding and inspires customer connections. HVoD technology delivers a rich, intuitive experience that is personal enough to listeners to enhance trust and engage their interests. It is a solution that responds in an emotionally-appropriate way, and it’s smart and fast enough to give customers the information they need.

In short, technology is more human.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

It’s not as futuristic as it sounds, though. Set in the near future, the Spike Jonze film “Her” centers on a lonely man, Theodore, who falls in love with an AI-driven operating system named Samantha. The warmth in the operating system’s voice and the empathy, curiosity and humor “she” displays wins Theodore over. In the movie, a voice, emotions and intelligence are enough to form a deep connection between man and machine.

Of course, deciding to deploy an advanced HVoD system to form deeper connections between a brand and its customers via content delivered in an on-brand voice doesn’t necessarily mean customers will get romantically attached to the technology solution. But if the system can engage listeners, respond in an emotionally relevant way and quickly and accurately answer their questions, customers may start to fall in love with the experience, at least a little bit. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.

How Managed Execution Services Help Marketers Yield Better Results

How Managed Execution Services Help Marketers Yield Better Results

clickdimensions logoWith the ever-changing digital landscape, marketing teams today are increasingly relying on technology to help them achieve their goals. In fact, a recent report by Conductor reveals that 43 percent of marketers use between six and 10 MarTech solutions at any given time to support marketing initiatives.

While Marketing Technology, specifically Marketing Automation, provides many important benefits to marketing teams, technology alone can’t solve the needs of modern marketers. Too often, the technology isn’t utilized to its fullest potential. Highly knowledgeable and skilled resources are necessary to deliver return on investment, but as the MarTech stack grows, it becomes more difficult for organizations to maintain all the necessary knowledge and skills in-house.

With managed execution services, MarTech providers offer a technology expert alongside their tool to help ensure the tech delivers results. According to Gartner, 63 percent of marketers indicate that they have purchased a support package from their Marketing Automation provider, with 100 percent of those respondents confirming the package was worth it. This speaks volumes about the advantages of utilizing a MarTech expert versus an external agency partner that may not understand the technology’s full capabilities.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Managed execution services can help marketers overcome common challenges and realize these impactful benefits:

Increase Execution Capacity to Focus on Strategy

With so many technologies and channels available today, marketers are forced into execution mode on the actions that day-to-day marketing requires, versus experimenting with new ideas. By utilizing managed services, marketing teams can execute on their marketing strategy more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

Supplement Existing Skillsets

Managed execution services allow businesses to supplement in-house skillsets with outside expertise. This is particularly advantageous when it comes to the more technical facets of utilizing marketing automation systems. For example, the internal team can focus on crafting the perfect email messaging and design, while the managed services provider focuses on constructing the template and safeguarding deliverability best practices.

Utilize Tools to their Full Potential

For many businesses, Email Marketing is where the internal team’s usage of a Marketing Automation tool begins and ends. According to a recent survey by ClickDimensions and Ascend2, only 19 percent of B2B marketers have completed implementation of their marketing technology. Additionally, technology is frequently updated with new capabilities, challenging marketers to constantly keep pace. Managed execution services can help ensure that teams realize the greatest ROI on their tech investments now and into the future.

For business leaders seeking more control over their marketing strategy, utilizing managed marketing services ensures marketers get the most out of their technology partners, resulting in greater success. It brings power back to marketing teams, allowing them to spend less time worrying about ROI and more time driving the business forward.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

7 “Gotchas” for Data Engineers New to Google BigQuery

7 "Gotchas" for Data Engineers New to Google BigQuery

aspirent logoEverywhere you look these days, IT organizations are looking to the cloud to solve their data storage, movement, and analytics challenges…and with good reason! Cloud services from Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others have revolutionized how we think about data, from an IT and an end user perspective. They’ve vastly reduced the function of the corporate data center, which is rarely a core competency of the organization.

They’ve democratized access to data, analytics, and processing power. They’ve disrupted how we think about the costs involved with data warehousing and analytics. Cloud is all these things and more, so it’s no wonder many organizations are rushing to push their big data operations into the cloud. Cost savings, performance improvement, and streamlined operations are all well and good, but what happens when you actually get down to doing the work? Chances are your data engineers will be new to whatever cloud technology your organization decides to utilize. This article details my own experience as a data engineer being exposed to Google BigQuery (GBQ) for the first time.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

I’ve been a data engineer for many years and I’ve worked with most flavors of RDBMS and SQL in my career. A recent project had my coworkers and I redesigning an existing SQL Server database into GBQ, which inspired me to write this article as a resource for fellow data engineers new to GBQ. Here are some things that might take some getting used to, along with mitigation strategies where I’ve found them:

  • Case Sensitivity – Unlike most RDBMS, BigQuery is case sensitive, not only for string comparison, but for object names as well. For string comparison, using The UPPER function on both sides (or one side of comparing to a literal) will eliminate the effect of case sensitivity.  Curiously, although object names are case sensitive when referenced in a FROM clause, column names are not case sensitive.
  • Fully Qualified Object Names – All object names referenced in the FROM clause must be fully qualified to the dataset level, or the project level if they don’t exist in your current billing project. Not only that, but the entire fully qualified name must be enclosed in backwards single quotes (usually shares a key with the tilde). You will absolutely spend several frustrated minutes at some point trying to figure out why a query errors out until you realize one of those quotes doesn’t look like the other.
  • Standard SQL vs. Legacy SQL – BigQuery has two flavors of SQL, for some reason. Standard SQL is very much like ANSI SQL and is what you should use. However, the classic BigQueryWeb UI (which I prefer for reasons I’ll get into shortly) defaults to Legacy SQL. There’s an option to use Standard SQL, and there’s also a Chrome extension called BigQuery Mate that will let you skip that step.
  • No Stored Procedures or Functions – This is a big one and there’s really no easy way around it. Google provides tools with which to do ETL and data transformation and preparation, but they don’t offer the flexibility of coding your own procedures.  Functions can be created, but they are temporary, only existing for a single session, which makes them very limited as a programming tool.
  • Classic UI vs. New UI – The classic UI (the one that looks like Gmail) has one big advantage in that it allows you to add a project to which you don’t have explicit named access to the object browser. For some reason, the new UI doesn’t have that feature. It does, however, default to Standard SQL, which can save you a few headaches.  Both are fine, but neither is perfect.
  • No Query Plan Estimates – You have to wonder if whoever runs Google’s Cloud Services division was a doctor in a past life.  What other industry would perform a service without explaining the cost first? That’s essentially what Google is doing here, albeit in a less predatory manner. Simply put, there is no way to determine if your complex query will run efficiently until you actually run it. Once you run the query, the execution plan is actually very helpful and actionable.
  • Limited DDL Capability – There is very little ability to alter a table once it exists.  You can’t remove a column or change a datatype.  You can’t rename fields or tables.   Nearly any table or view altering operation involves a “CREATE TABLE AS SELECT” type of operation, meaning you technically will end up with a “new” table or view.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

I would imagine that reading that list, it looks like I’m disparaging BigQuery quite a bit. That’s not the case at all. These are, for the most part, annoyances that new GBQ developers will encounter and overcome. There’s actually a lot to like, too. Here are some pleasant surprises that I encountered during my first GBQ project:

  • Automatic Object Expiration – This one’s for the lazy DBA who always has 25 temp tables covered with dust in the corner of his/her database. In GBQ, you can (and should) create a dataset and specify a short object lifespan.  This way, you can have a sandbox environment that cleans itself up and you don’t need to worry about incurring additional storage charges for data you no longer need.
  • Query History – GBQ logs all of the queries you run for billing purposes of course, but it also exposes them to you in an easily searchable list. This can be extremely handy if you ever lose track of a piece of code, which happens to the best of us.
  • Cached Query Results – Google charges to store data and in most cases to retrieve it as well. If you’re like me, you may find yourself running the same query periodically during development. GBQ will cache those results by default and your project will not be charged. There is an option to turn this feature off in the Web UI options if you want.
  • Autocomplete – Most query tools such as TOAD or SQL Management Studio will autocomplete table and column names for you with varying degrees of success.  I’ve found that the GBQ Web UI autocomplete
  • GUI-Based Table Creation – Sometimes you just need to create a quick small table to store parameters or something like that. The GBQ Web UI allows a user with no SQL skills the ability to create a table and add columns of various data types.

The upshot is that GBQ takes a little getting used to and still has one or two glaring functionality gaps, mainly related to the inability to create stored procedures or functions. However, the potential benefits of cloud data storage and analytics far outweigh these considerations. I continue to learn new shortcuts and techniques every day, and as I overcome the various small challenges, I can see the bright “cloudy” future in front of me.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

What is Presentation Management and Why Do You Need It?

What is Presentation Management and Why Do You Need It?

shufflrr logoPowerPoint is like the phone company, we love to hate it, but need it and use it every day. PowerPoint won as the de facto program for business presentations because it’s easy to use and has a lot of great graphic and animation features that make documents more interesting. Above all, it’s included with MS Office, so everyone has it. If you send someone a PowerPoint deck, there’s a 99.99% chance that they’ll be able to open it. Everybody uses PowerPoint.

Ironically, the ubiquity of PowerPoint has created a tangled nightmare of slides — like old wiring behind the walls waiting to short circuit — that no one in the company has any control over, and no one can seem to find.

Is this slide current? Not sure.

Is this the right background? Yes. No. Wait. On second review, that’s the old logo.

I need to create a new slide. Actually you don’t, it already exists, but good luck finding it. Yeah, so you’re right. Go ahead and make a new slide, it’s faster.

As a collective group, your company’s collective PowerPoint files are a mess. On top of that, a PowerPoint deck, in and of itself, has some challenges.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

PowerPoint is rigid – We don’t talk or think in a linear format, so why should our business interactions be forced into a linear slide show thought process?

PowerPoint’s outline format strips substance – The devil is in the details, yet PowerPoint’s outline format reduces the propensity to include and explore those important details for an idea.

Too many graphics – PowerPoints graphics and animations are a double-edged sword. Too often, we get too carried away with smart art, charts and animations that end up detracting from the core message of our presentation. The audience is too busy watching a swirly effect to hear what you are saying.

It’s a crutch – Many presenters let the slides lead the meeting, and they just follow along. The worst presenters will actually read the slides in front of the group. It’s safe and everyone does it, and it’s even accepted as basic boring corporate stuff to be tolerated. Though, I have yet to meet anyone who has enjoyed sitting through one of these meetings.

One-and-done – One person, or a group of people, will spend hours, even weeks, to create the perfect presentation for their meeting. It will have input from the brightest executives in the company, professional writing and even graphics. And what happens after the meeting? It gets lost on the network somewhere, or in an email, or even left at the podium, which results in repeating the same process for the next meeting.

And that’s how companies end up with a tangled mess of PowerPoints that no one can decipher. It’s time to end this dysfunctional PowerPoint culture and introduce a better way to manage presentations.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Presentation management transforms presentations from one-and-done decks and turns them into marketing communications assets that can be used to the benefit of everyone in your company. You can implement a presentation management strategy with a few steps.

First and foremost, it’s how you think about presentations. Next time you (or your colleagues) start preparing a deck, think beyond the meeting. Consider how these slides you are creating can be used over and over again. The first step in implementing a presentation management strategy is to start treating presentations as enterprise assets. Think a little differently.

Now that you are thinking long term, presentation management is made up of the following components, which will enable your team to quickly find a particular slide easily and re-use it.

  • Central Cloud Location: A dedicated repository that is easily accessible to your team so they know where to find approved, branded presentation content.
  • Visual Slide Library: An interface within the repository, so users can review PowerPoint slides, videos, images and other files, and quickly decide if it’s right for their meeting.
  • Search: A search app that indexes the organic content within slides, i.e. the text and speaker notes, so you don’t have to rely on clever file names and meta tags to find content
  • Reporting: Tracking and reporting which content is used, and which is not, will help you make better content decisions in the future.

With presentation management, the time and materials spent on creating one slide, one video, one piece of communication, multiplies. Instead of being used only once, it can now be used ten, even a hundred times. Your files become active, accessible, reusable and productive. Presentation management increases the return on investment in your marketing content.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Metrics To Measure In A Modern Sales Organization

Metrics To Measure In A Modern Sales Organization

OutreachIf you are familiar with real estate, you might have heard the term highest and best use.This is an important concept in determining the value of real estate.The highest and best use of a property or building is the use that achieves maximum possible productivity and, therefore, profit. Sales Efficiency is the same idea applied to sales teams.

In order to create a truly efficient sales program, leadership must constantly ask: “Is this the highest and best use of my sales rep’s time and energy?” This approach to sales can mean the difference between a starving sales team and a revenue machine.

Your definition of efficient is based largely on your goals. No two teams will define Sales Efficiency exactly the same way. A sales program focused on a small number of high-value accounts (Account-based Sales Development [ABSD]) will define efficiency differently than a team fielding thousands of transactional inbound leads every month. However, there are a few elements of Sales Efficiency that transcend Go-to-Market (GTM) strategies.

A perfectly efficient sales org allows reps to spend their time on three activities:

  • Choosing targets (companies or people)
  • Talking to new prospects
  • Nurturing old prospects

Although Sales Efficiency may feel like a nebulous concept, that’s only because most leaders have never been shown how to measure their sales funnel. In this chapter, we will teach you how to do it.

By the end of this chapter, you’ll know how to confidently answer the question that makes sales leaders nervous: “What resources do you need to deliver $X of new pipeline next quarter?” This will allow you to deliver more revenue and forecast more accurately as it compounds over time. Today, we’ll focus specifically on efficiency as it relates to outbound pipeline development programs with large Total Addressable Markets (TAMs), which describes most teams focused on Sales Engagement.

In order to do it justice (pun intended—you’ll see why), we brought in our longtime customer and friend Taft Love. Taft started his career as a police officer and detective before moving over to run Sales and Pipeline Development for multiple hyper-growth companies (maybe that explains why his teams are so good at prospecting). He previously led Sales Development at SmartRecruiters and is currently the VP of Pipeline and Marketing Operations at HouseCanary. Taft’s first step? Better understand your pipeline.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Taft’s Take: Understanding Your Pipeline

Achieving Pipeline Efficiency (an important component of Revenue Efficiency) begins with understanding your Sales Development funnel.

Ask any experienced VP of Sales about their Account Executives’ (AEs’) funnel, and they can rattle off all sorts of metrics. Close rate, win rate, average deal size, sales cycle length, etc. They know these metrics because it’s their job.

Companies understand why these metrics are so important. Sales organizations invest heavily in Operations teams that help them identify, track, and trust their funnel metrics. But few companies give much thought to understanding their Sales Development funnel.

Most Sales Development leaders aren’t expected to know their funnel metrics like the VP of Sales—yet. However, the landscape is shifting rapidly for Sales Development leaders, and knowing your funnel will not be rare within a year or two. Achieving Revenue Efficiency is simply not possible if you can manage—and therefore measure—only the top half of your funnel.

This section will focus on showing you exactly how to capture the metrics that Sales Development leaders need to understand their funnel like a VP of Sales would.

To be clear, knowing open and response rates of emails is not the same as understanding your funnel. Sales Development leaders often use these ratios in place of an actual funnel because they are easy to measure. Most email automation tools have shallow reporting capabilities that end at the activity level, but new, more robust technologies like SEPs can measure all the way to revenue attribution. It’s 2019—is anyone still investing in software solutions that don’t measure down to the dollar? Sales Development funnels are more difficult to measure than AE funnels for two reasons:

  • 1. In most teams, no two SDRs prospect exactly the same way.
  • 2. The AE funnel is tracked within a single object (opportunity), but the Sales Development funnel is spread across four (contact, account, task, opportunity).

This represents a huge problem for data-driven teams. If you don’t know your Sales Development funnel, you can’t accurately forecast the resources necessary to deliver pipeline.You can guess, and you may even get it right sometimes, but guessing gets harder as you grow.

In order to understand your funnel, there are two things you need to do:

  1. Reconcile your two Sales Development funnels: Activities and accounts.
  2. Build a system for measuring your funnel.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Standardizing Your Sales Development Funnel

I recently spoke with a Sales Development leader who knew she needed additional headcount to hit upcoming goals but had no idea how to justify it to her executive team. She knew instinctively that her current team of about a dozen SDRs wouldn’t be able to hit the next quarter’s pipeline goal, but she just couldn’t justify it using hard metrics.

Roughly a quarter of her SDRs conducted all their outbound prospecting via LinkedIn. Of the remaining reps, most relied primarily on email while a few hit the phones hard.This inconsistency led to a few reps crushing their goals with the rest struggling to keep up. She found it impossible to gauge the skill level of reps based on their performance when they all employed different strategies.That doesn’t scale.

This is a common story in SDR-land. Few teams have built the infrastructure necessary to connect effort to outcomes. Instead, they rely exclusively on metrics like email open and response rates that tell only part of the story.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

In Focus: Mobile and Video Trends

Mobile and Video Trends

admedo logoIs this the age of mobile video consumption, 78% of people watch online videos every week, with 55% having a daily viewing habit. Therefore, it is no surprise 2019 forecasts predict mobile ad spend to grow by 2.4% from 2018, whilst digital video ad spends grew 5.9% between 2017-2018 and is forecasted to grow a further 3.9% in 2019 (Pubmatic 2019).

In a time of online sensory overload, advertisers are scrambling to get their content seen. Some have resorted to developing ads that pop-up or cover the content of the page, the viewer is trying to access however this just escalates what seems like an ongoing battle between the desire for attention and the prevention of intrusiveness, resulting in 1 in every 2, 18-24-year olds installing ad blockers (Verizon 2019).

Video’s format is widely praised for its higher rates of engagement and therefore its popularity could be attributed to the fact it provides a solution that is less intrusive and aggravating to the audience but still provides penetration into their online habits. Brands are following this trend, shifting focus and their budgets towards video and rightly so. Video content is far more easily absorbable and therefore has an adept ability to evoke more emotion than static ad content ever could, allowing substantial brand story-telling and as a consequence building favorable brand relationships.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

Wirebuzz found that brands using video marketing were able to increase their year on year revenue by an astounding 49% faster than brands that chose not to. A shining example of how sentiment can be portrayed can be seen through this creative piece by the Vietnamese agency the Purpose Group, advertising Coffee house, depicting core brand ethos and values with which the audience can relate.

Not only is video consumption rising in popularity, but its impact is growing in strength. Research shows that those who viewed 30 seconds to completion of a skippable ad were 23 times more likely to interact with that brand after, through actions such as subscribing, sharing the content or watching more from that brand (Brand Watch).

Whilst the ad industry is witnessing changes in the patterns of consumption relating to the format of advertisement, the method through which this consumption is undertaken is changing in tandem. A report by Ofcom, detailed the average adult spends 2 hours and 49 minutes a day on their smartphone and for those in the age bracket of 15-24, the figures skyrocket to 4 hours daily.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

Mobile is increasingly becoming the medium to connect and engage audiences, mobile apps accommodate 87% of smartphone usage minutes (UKOM), with most adults checking their phones within the first few moments they wake up, the last few moments before they go to sleep and everything in-between. Mobile is providing an ‘always-on’ outlook, a channel through which audiences can continuously be reached throughout any point during their day.

The same Ofcom report disclosed 75% of smartphone users regard using their device for phone calls as important, compared to 92% who regard browsing the internet on their device as more important, suggesting a repositioning of our mobile devices from solely forms of contact and communication towards tools for leisure, shopping and entertainment. Smartphones are increasingly becoming an important touch point within the customer journey and brands would be wise to acknowledge such a changing pattern and accommodate such a shift within their marketing strategies.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

Why Facebook Is Still the Strongest Social Media Platform When It Comes to Advertising

Why Facebook Is Still the Strongest Social Media Platform When It Comes to Advertising

mutesix logoFacebook is dead.” “The content sucks.” The media beatdown never stops. And yet we’re seeing up close how brands are allocating more of their digital dollars to Facebook advertising year-over-year. Conspiratory “truther” talk? Fake news? Hardly. Brands cannot deny two simple truths: 1) They’re always testing everything because they have to, and 2) after considerable testing and budget shifts, brands more often than not come back to Facebook fueled by a fierce desire to scale. Facebook advertising — when contextually relevant — to 2.32 billion folks still works.

The question of allocating advertising dollars to social media is no longer a matter of “if” but “where” and “how much.” This is more important than ever before given 68% of American adults report that they are Facebook users and about three-quarters of those users access Facebook on a daily basis. Facebook continues to evolve the ways a brand can engage with consumers, for example through advances in their video offerings, and with chatbots and Augmented Reality on Facebook Messenger. The platform now offers deeper opportunities for marketers to shift focus from “fancy metrics” to actionable results linked to business objectives.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

Facebook’s value for advertisers can be distilled into three key differentiators:

Endless Segmentation and Targeting Opportunities

Facebook offers businesses a dozen different ad formats and thousands of possible ad targeting opportunities. Diversified and comprehensive strategies can help you tap into new fanbases and communities and scale immensely in a short amount of time. And, the categories range from generally intuitive to totally bizarre. Take a look at Reese’s, which was struggling to increase sales and awareness of its new product — Outrageous Bars (a gooey treat stuffed with Reese’s Pieces, peanut butter, caramel all drizzled with milk chocolate).

The brand has 12 million outrageously loyal Facebook followers who literally go to extremes when it comes to showing their undying love for chocolate in their everyday work and personal lives. Reese’s focused on these supercharged, socially engaged Facebook fans to drive demand for the new product. The game plan: Take over an unsuspecting town’s Halloween celebration, pre-launch the Outrageous Bars by mysteriously pre-seeding samples among local media and hold a video contest inviting fans to share their unwavering dedication for Reese’s to win year’s supply of Reese’s and $10,000. The campaign saw 2.1 billion combined media and social impressions and 6,634 media placements (combined with Twitter outreach) at a very low-cost investment.

Segmentation and targeting are a two-way street; Reese’s was able to use their loyal fanbase to drive sharing and awareness to different consumers, understand the journey these consumers had taken through Facebook, and get to a new level of profiling more than brands have been able to do in the past. And, Reese’s met with great success when pairing a stunt marketing opportunity with a qualified layer of targeting, changing the way the brand could launch a basic chocolate bar.

While most folks assume Facebook reigns supreme at targeting at specific primary audiences, the platform can work just as well for mass secondary reach, which can sometimes be more important than driving primary experiences. The same can be seen for Facebook-owned Instagram, which is growing in prevalence and sophistication. Smartly targeting new audiences with eye-popping marketing messaging (especially through high-growth video and mobile video formats) is now only limited by ambition and creative.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

It’s A Top Channel for Discovery

Product discovery traditionally took place at the e-commerce level and was rooted in consumers searching for products that they knew they wanted. With billions of images and videos shared daily, the 24/7 shopper is now discovering products more often across social media causing consumers to stop scrolling and ask, “What’s that?” creating impressionable moments of discovery and demonstrating the need for brands to create compelling content for each channel. Add to this — traditional desktop-based principles of search are no longer natural points of entry in today’s mobile-first app economy.

And, this is where Facebook has been an underappreciated source as an effective search channel. In 2018, over 56% of Facebook’s Story users have browsed the brand’s website to get more info after seeing a product/service in Stories. In an age where device connectivity is more important than ever, consumers today are expecting to find that imitable Amazon-like experience just about everywhere. And, Facebook has easily maintained its place as the leading social platform, reaching 60.6% of internet users.

Interestingly, the Facebook family of apps helps facilitate this complex discovery process to spark the consumer’s interest as it is the top source of online discovery for shoppers, particularly in household staples, apparel & accessories, and media & entertainment. An advantage Facebook has over the second most popular social site for product discovery (Pinterest) is its ability to manage multiple discovery mediums (text, images, videos, etc.)

Live Video Projected to Grow

It’s no surprise that video outperforms images. It grabs your audience’s attention in the newsfeed and holds on to that attention for longer than a post, leading to greater engagement rates. Facebook is now looking to drive uptake of its live video tool: Facebook Live. This is in response to mounting interest in live and long-form content. Live video offers the potential for new creative approaches to marketing for businesses of any size and scale given almost all of Facebook’s 1.5 billion daily users access it via mobile.

In 2017, Facebook had launched a dedicated video channel (Watch) were it hosts longer-form, original video content across multiple genres, from drama and comedy to documentary. It’s clear Facebook has a strong desire to reinvent itself as a hub for video, which could lead to bidding wars for content such as live sports. Early reports suggest the company has reserved a “few billion dollars” to spend on global sports deals, which bodes well for the entire advertising community.

Making a connection between your target customers and your brand requires new ways to not just stand out to the right audience with the right message at the right time, but also to build on that connection and create a solid,  trusted relationship. While Facebook withstands punch after punch in the regulatory ring, it’s clear the platform still delivers on ad spend. The key is to identify when and where to pivot towards the ever-evolving customer obsession. And, Facebook does this well. All of these services align with the consumer’s very first spark of interest: helping people get to better things, faster. This is why Facebook will continue to work.

Read More: How AI will Change the Game for Influencer Marketing

3 Insights for Pinterest Advertising Campaigns that Drive Sales

3 Insights for Pinterest Advertising Campaigns that Drive Sales

sharelov logoPinterest is a powerful social platform for brands wanting to sell products and services. Pinterest users (pinners) are actively looking to make purchases, and they like to take action.

Although the network is best known for food, fitness, and travel, it also offers an opportunity for information-rich businesses such as tech, finance, and architecture to simplify concepts and drive sales through Pinterest advertising.

Insider tips on driving sales through Pinterest advertising. Find out how to brand, design, and inform pinners for higher conversions

Combine Pinterest hashtag marketing with Pinterest advertising using the following three insights to drive optimal sales.

1. Use Consistent Branding

Align Pinterest advertising with landing pages to create a user experience that delivers on what it promises and reassures consumers they’ve reached the correct page.

If your advertising links to a landing page, as it does with many SaaS products:

  • Use the same colors and design on the landing page as in the ad.
  • Repeat the ad copy at the top of the landing page.
  • Use the same logo on the landing page as what’s in the ad.

If your advertising links to a product page, as it does for most retail products:

  • Link to the exact product or line of products advertised.
  • Use the same logo on that ad as the logo in the header of your website.
  • Write ads that align with the product description on your website, so users know they’re viewing the correct product.

It’s essential that your ad links send users directly to a product page or dedicated landing page, never to a home or blog page where they’ll have to search for the product/service you advertised. People on Pinterest are ready to take action — don’t make them think. Guide them through the sales funnel without making them wonder where to go next.

Read More: 3 Ways Mobile Technology is Changing the Brick-and-Mortar Experience

2. Use Large Text Overlays

Google Chrome users see pins with clear titles, making it easy to select content relevant to their searches. Other browsers, such as Microsoft Edge, don’t display pin titles in Pinterest feeds.

When browsers don’t display pin titles, it degrades the UX and lowers your click rate.

Offset this problem by including large overlay text in your ad images.

3. Include Pricing in the Pin Description

According to Pinterest, pins that include pricing in the description drive 28% more online sales. Include prices in your promoted pins to reach pinners who are ready to buy. Use pin descriptions to establish the value of your content by telling the viewer what to expect. This narrows your traffic to targeted visitors who are more likely to make a purchase.

Use transparency when possible, whether you’re promoting a “how-to” guide that includes chapter summaries, or products and services that can display pricing.

Read More: Eye Rolls at Pre-Rolls: How to Escape the Trap of Annoying Ads

Pinterest ROI Outperforms Other Social Platforms

According to a report by Analytics Partners, Pinterest advertising ROI outperforms all other measured channels by 45%, returning an average $60 profit for every $100 spent.

Almost all pinners (90%) say they’re on the platform to find their next purchase, and 80% of them make purchases based on pins.

Pinterest is a serious contender when it comes to social media channels that convert followers to customers. Use consistent branding, large text overlays, and transparent pricing information to drive sales from Pinterest.

Read More: Data-Driven and AI-Powered Marketing in 2019 and Beyond