How to Tap into the Power of Influencers

Influencer marketing has become a bit of a buzzword in the marketing industry as of late. Merriam-Webster defines influence as “the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect ways.”  From my perspective, influence, as it relates to marketing, is someone who resonates with an audience, makes an impact and provides value.

Why Should Marketers Invest in Influencer Marketing?

A recent study conducted by Content Marketing Institute found marketing campaigns that include influencers show a 10x increase in conversion rates. Think about that in terms of return on investment (ROI). That’s a potential return of over $9 for every dollar invested. Why wouldn’t you make a sound investment like that? And according to McKinsey, those customers who do convert have a tendency to stick around. They’ve reported that influencer campaigns achieve, on average, a 37% increase in retention. The numbers don’t lie. Marketers should explore how to engage influencers throughout the year. In this blog, we’ll examine what it takes to get and influencer engagement strategy started. 

Things to Consider

What should brands consider when building an influencer engagement strategy?

  • Resources: Determine what it will cost to implement and integrate a new influencer engagement program. And in addition, what it will cost if you don’t secure relationships with the top influencers in your industry—and the competition does.
  • Targeting: Research the top influencers you want to engage with and how you want to collaborate. Outline the where and when, types of engagements (webinars, speaking engagements, tweet chats, live streams, podcasts, etc.)
  • Sustainability: Think about how you can continue building the relationship beyond a single engagement. Create a long-term strategy that outlines future engagements to maintain consistent touch-points and a cadence of collaborations.
  • ROI: Identify what you’ll get by investing in an influencer program. Clearly define the impact an influencer program will have on your marketing, brand, and business.

Get Your Targeting Right

One mistake I often see marketers make is thinking of influencer engagements as a one and done strategy. However, in a digitally connected world, where individuals are following and engaging with influencers on a daily basis, aligning your brand with those influencers consistently is becoming more important than ever. Let’s dig a little deeper into how to determine the best fit for your brand.

How should brands start to identify influencers?

  • Observation: Look at who your target audience is following. This is a quick and easy way to identify who your audience is listening to and engaging with.
  • Understand Impact: Determine who will be impactful and provide the most value to your audience. Most influencers are creating and publishing new content on a regular basis. Research and review their top content to determine if what they’re creating is relevant, consistent, and helpful.
  • Understand their Voice: Ensure their tone and style matches, or complements the brand.
  • Credibility: There are a plethora of qualified, knowledgeable professionals out there who would be happy to work with your brand. Why waste your time on somebody who isn’t genuinely knowledgeable and engaging?

Who Runs the Program?

Once you’ve developed a strategy and identified who you’re looking to build a relationship with, you’ll need to think about how to collaborate with the key stakeholders involved in managing an influencer engagement program. These roles will differ from company to company, but you may want to consider:

  • Social media managers will be on the front lines interacting daily. Involving the influencers in tweet chats, live streaming, quotation templates, live tweets at events.
  • Content marketing managers to create content that incorporates influencer responses and views in blogs, ebooks, etc.
  • Corporate communication managers to negotiate contracts for event appearances, videos, commercials, 3rd party publications, etc.
  • Analyst Relations interact with a decidedly different set of influencers, but they still fit the definition and should have a plan for ongoing engagement and relevant touchpoints.
  • Customer marketing should always be involved. Your biggest, most impactful influencers are your very own customers. Sure maybe they don’t have 170,o00 followers on Twitter, but they do have first-hand experience to share with their peers—who are often your target audience.
  • Employee advocacy to include your own internal influencers in the program and amplify the activities that you are doing with external influencers.
  • A single point of contact that continues to build the personal relationship.

Make Your Program Sustainable

According to the report Influencer 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing by Traackr and TopRank Marketing, 55% of marketers plan to spend more on influencer marketing next year, and for those companies that already spend more than $250,000 on influencer marketing, that percentage jumps to 67%. But whether you have a big, small, or non-existent budget, it still makes sense to start influencer marketing now.

If you have a team of influencer stakeholders like I listed above, work with them to map out your big initiatives as anchors throughout the year, then craft activities and engagement points across the year. Don’t be afraid to be scrappy! Focus on making sure there is a value exchange and not simply continual asks of your influencers. You will find that as you gain momentum and success you can argue for more resources.

Measure the Impact

Let’s dig into how to measure the ROI of an influencer marketing campaign. Early stage metrics would include an increase in social media reach and impressions. You can also take a look at mentions, share of voice and new followers during the duration of your campaign. Later stage metrics can include UTM parameters that allow you to keep track of how many users are visiting your website from influencer referrals, and then further down the line convert. Another way to track the effectiveness of an influencer campaign is using a unique discount or coupon codes and then track how many of each are redeemed or submitted.

Ultimately, influencer marketing will boil down to one thing at the end of the day, relationships. Getting the ball rolling can be as simple as reaching out, introducing yourself and your product, meeting them face to face, shaking their hand and chatting about how you can create alignment between your business goals and their goals.

The post How to Tap into the Power of Influencers appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/06/tap-power-influencers.html

Which Fictional Boss Are You? [Flowchart]

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I know I’m literally ten years late to this, but I just started watching Mad Men on Netflix. And guys — newsflash — it’s a really good show

The old school ad strategies, the fun outfits, the drama — I love it all. Except Don Draper’s management style. That, in my humble opinion, could use a little work.

I know my stance might be colored by several generation gaps. I’m a millennial, and according to some reports, we need to be told we’re smart and wonderful every two seconds or we turn to avocado toast dust — but it seems to me that Draper could afford to encourage his team a little bit more. Or at the very least, not rely so heavily on cryptic one-liners and mysterious stares to drive the direction of major projects. 

I probably won’t ever relate to Don Draper’s unconventional leadership style on Mad Men, but there are plenty of other fictional bosses from TV and film to aspire to — or avoid becoming. 

To help you discover your fictional boss alter ego, the folks at GetVoIP spun up this clever flowchart. So go ahead: Take a break from your morning grind, and answer the questions below to figure out which beloved (or notorious) fictional boss your leadership style most aligns with. It’s still kind of work related, right?

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Which fictional boss did you get? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Credit: AMC 

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from HubSpot Marketing Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/which-fictional-boss-are-you-flowchart

App Store Optimization: Why Creatives Lead to Successful Search Ads

Since Apple’s introduction of Search Ads last year, organizations with a mobile app are embracing Search Ads to improve their app’s conversion rate to become more discoverable in the App Store.

Search Ads are created using an app’s store listing, including an app’s metadata and creative. While all the metadata is important for visibility, the creatives (icon, screenshots, and video), need to be visually appealing and relevant to users to improve conversion. Search Ads can only be effective and convert users if the creatives are relevant and clearly demonstrate the app’s core features.

For Search Ads to be effective, it is crucial for marketers and developers to incorporate an App Store Optimization (ASO) strategy to optimize their app’s metadata and creatives to contain high-volume keywords and relevant images based on real mobile data of user’s search trends and behavior in the app store.

Where Do You Start?

ASO is the necessary foundation to making sure an app’s Search Ads are relevant and appealing to the audience for the app to become more discoverable. Before an organization dives into creating an ASO strategy, it is pertinent that they look at the current app market and analyze their competitors and understand how users search.

By evaluating competitors and understanding how users are searching in the App Store, marketing and development teams can have a guide on how to improve their App Store listing. Users tend to search with popular terms associated to specific apps, features or categories. For the most part, targeted keywords have already been determined, but after evaluating competitors and user trends, those keywords can be adjusted to generate more visibility.

Developers need to know which keywords would be most relevant to their app and target those terms. The keywords need to be closely tied to the app’s core features that are unique to the app to target its audience. Track user trends to make sure the keywords are related to what the audience wants in an app. Keep in mind, Search Ads are based off how relevant an app is to a specific term.

App developers also have the option to bid on keywords so their app will appear more frequently in user searches. Regardless of a developer having the highest bid on a keyword, Apple still ranks apps by relevancy. If the Search Ad is not relevant to the user’s search, it will not appear at the top of the App Store.

Search Ad Variations

Apple uses an app’s store listing, metadata and imagery to create its Search Ads. While developers are somewhat limited on what content goes into the Search Ads, they can at least choose how Search Ads will appear to users on the App Store.

Search Ads will appear in one of two forms:

  1. Icon plus first two lines of App Store description
  2. Icon plus screenshots and preview video (if applicable)

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Search Ads can also appear in either portrait or landscape depending on the orientation of the current screenshots and preview video.

Optimizing Creatives

The only way that developers can make their app listing more relevant to user searches is by improving their app’s discoverability with ASO. The creatives, which include the icon, screenshots, and preview video, need to show how the app naturally appears to a better answer with its features.

One of the key aspects of ASO is creative optimization, which is an essential part of improving conversion. Here are easy tips based off ASO best practices that will help developers streamline their creative optimization to improve conversion.

  1. Screenshots

An app’s screenshots should be thought of as advertising banners that use high-volume keywords to be relevant in user searches. Screenshots need to clearly display an app’s core features and should be uncluttered. Developers and marketers need to make sure their screenshots are legible—if screenshots are too confusing, they are less likely to convert users.

ASO Tips- Add Screenshots

  1. Preview Video

When an app preview video is used, it takes the place of a screenshot but holds the same level of importance to conversion. Many developers forget that the preview video is presented as a still image, otherwise known as a poster frame. On Search Ads, this means the poster frame cannot be a random image that holds no relevance to the app. Instead, developers should be careful and make sure the poster frame contains high-volume keywords and an image that represents the app’s core features.

ASO Tips- Preview Video

  1. Icon

The app icon needs to be polished and unique to stand out among competitors. If the app icon is not memorable, regardless of showing up in a Search Ad, users are less likely to convert. Some marketers and developers use their brand logo or a memorable character to retain user attention. While this strategy works, the icon also needs to demonstrate the app’s core features and be void of confusion like the screenshots.

ASO Tips- Have a Good Icon

Key Takeaways

Organizations looking to become more discoverable with Search Ads need to improve their app’s metadata and creatives with ASO prior to using Search Ads. Since the keywords that appear in App Store listing will be used for the Search Ad. Make sure that the app’s creatives are clean, clearly demonstrate the app’s core features and the icon, screenshots, and preview video contain high-volume keywords that are relevant not only to the app but to the target audience. The only way an app will become visible through Search Ads is by being relevant first.

The post App Store Optimization: Why Creatives Lead to Successful Search Ads appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/06/app-store-optimization-creatives-lead-successful-search-ads.html

What We Learned From Spending $100k On Facebook Ads

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For a three-person digital marketing team like ours, the prospect of having a big ad budget seemed like a distant dream. So when we were suddenly given $100K to spend on Facebook ads, we were positively giddy.

And unbelievably nervous.

As a lean SaaS startup, we have to be very wise with our marketing investments. Couple that with our low cost-per-sale ($24/monthly for our starter plan), and you can see that being cost-effective while still spending on ads is a challenge.

In May of 2016, we had the honor of working with Facebook Canada. We received a small grant to kickstart our advertising initiatives, and had the opportunity to spend two full days with one of their ad reps.

Other than working with the Facebook team, we are completely in-house. On one hand this was an advantage — since we could make changes to the program in seconds rather than days — on the other hand, we were on our own for creative, landing pages, and analytics.

We ran an early prototype campaign with some decent success. In fact, it performed in the same neighbourhood as our other digital advertising initiatives. Cool beans.

But that was just the start. We’d tasted success, and knew that we were only scratching the surface. So, naturally, we made a pitch to our company’s executive team to increase our digital marketing budget so we could prove that Facebook was a viable avenue for growth. Our commitment to the business: generate trials at a cost-effective rate of $50/trial.

Our pitch was a success, and we found ourselves with a considerable ad budget. Now it was real — it was time to build out an end-to-end Facebook Ads strategy.

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Admittedly, we were quite nervous. Our credibility was on the line.

Here’s what we ended up learning from that process, wrinkles and all. Read on to the end to see our results.

Lesson 1: Fully commit resources or your cost-per-acquisition (CPA) will rise swiftly.

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We received our first lesson early on. We had become complacent with the success of our ad creative in May 2016, and tried to replicate that again. Using the same ad creative from AdWords, we launched on Facebook Ads. Initially, it worked. We generated trials at an acceptable rate.

But we mistakenly saw this initial success as a sign that we could set it and forget it. We went back to focusing on our other digital marketing strategies, like creating organic content, while our CPAs gradually rose.

Facebook CPAs have a nasty habit of rising suddenly — I mean, literally blowing up overnight. One morning, we logged into our marketing dashboard and saw that we were generating trials at twice our target CPA of $50/trial. This was crazy business, and we needed to act fast.

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Fixing this problem took a lot of time and resources, and a few calls with our dedicated Facebook Ads guru (shout-out to the brilliant Mike Empey). The problem was Ad Frequency

What happened was that our Facebook ad frequency had risen so high that our addressable market was seeing ads 3-5 times a day. Ugh. So of course CPAs rose accordingly — we were irritating people to no end.

We resolved to take two actions: first, we swapped in new creative. In fact, we created 5 new ads to push into market. This had an immediate impact, and gave us a deep understanding of how detrimental ad fatigue can be.

Second, and more importantly, we committed to a new process for our creative. We call it “the conveyor belt.” Here’s how it works:

  • Week 1: Design and launch new ad creative in 1-3 ad sets. Test and analyze results.
  • Week 2: Push all variations to all ad sets. Turn off old ads. Analyze initial results.
  • Week 3: Pick winning variations from ad sets. Analyze and deconstruct results.
  • Week 4: Assess week 1-3 learnings. Apply those learning to new ad creative.

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The side benefit of this process is that we’ve tested so many ad variants that we now have a repository of “winning variants” that we can quickly call out of retirement if our CPAs rise.

Lesson 2: Segment your audiences to effectively manage ad set CPAs.

Initially, I think we underestimated the amount of ad sets we’d need to manage. Looking back, I cringe to think we only launched our prospecting campaign with three ad sets: USA, Canada, and Europe (today we manage between 50 and 70 ad sets, depending on ad performance).

We weren’t even going beyond some basic audience targeting.

No age specification. No regional targeting. No device targeting. Just a giant ad campaign.

We were confident in our ad creative and landing page conversion rates, but forgot the importance of audience profiling. 

It’s no wonder that our results were really hard to interpret. I remember naively saying to Valerie Hamilton, our digital marketing specialist, “Europe is performing well today. What’s the story?”

We didn’t know. Were women converting better than men? Was a certain age bracket doing better than another one? We had no clue.

And at this point our CPAs were still floating about 25% higher than our target. It would have been a dramatic understatement to say we had some optimization work to do.

We started to analyze our lead generation activities across demographic lines. We used a combination of Facebook Ads, Google Analytics, Mixpanel, and Salesforce data. What we found out was that we did remarkably better with people aged between 24-45. This totally makes sense, too.

Folks older than 45 are typically in a more senior role, and rarely the ones actually building or trialing our product. Instead, they are often the ones marshaling their team to demo our software.

Our first action was to split out this age range and only focus on where we saw the most success. By cutting more expensive CPA audiences, we were able to reduce our CPA.

Since then, we’ve adjusted our messaging to the >45 crowd by including more language about “their team” and “data transparency.” We’ve also focused a lot more of our ad buys on video assets instead of advertising our free trial.

It’s worth mentioning that we had good reasons for avoiding audience segmentation. First, we didn’t have the capacity to manage dozens of ad sets. Second, we wanted to keep our addressable market as large as possible and let our learnings help us figure out where to whittle down.

Lesson 3: Geographic bidding makes sense when you know regional lifetime values (LTVs).

The other side of the demographic coin for us was splitting out geographies. Treating Europe as a homogeneous advertising market just didn’t make sense for our business at the time (see Lesson 8, where we experimented with world-wide delivery).

While our European campaign was performing well enough, it was clear that we were missing an opportunity. For instance, we knew that leads from specific geographies often convert to customers at a much higher rate, and that their LTV was much higher on average.

In broad outreach campaigns, for example, we saw that we were attracting a high number of leads at $15/trial from Greece and Hungary. But while we have great customers in that part of the world, we’ve run a number of internal reports that show paid leads from that region convert at a much lower rate.

Despite paying such a low CPA, these leads were not converting and we were paying far too much for them. Internal reports (plus complaints from our sales team) had us digging deep into the data.

This is when the lesson clicked for us; we realized it was okay to spend a lot more on leads from, say, the Netherlands, because their LTV and conversion rates were much, much higher.

By splitting out different geographies, we enhanced our ability to match CPA targets to an appropriate LTV.

Lesson 4: Matching ad creative and landing pages.

This is textbook digital marketing, true. But it was a challenge for our scrappy digital marketing team to prioritize this while managing a $100K budget and driving all the day-to-day campaigns required for a fast-growing startup.

Plus, we could rationalize pushing this aside because our landing page was performing reasonably well.

But when you’re spending $100K and your CPAs continue to fluctuate, every conversion opportunity is magnified ten-fold.

With our small team and only one dedicated designer, we needed to call in the big guns. We went with Unbounce, and it’s had a measureable impact on our landing page conversion rates, helping us grab an 18% conversion rate for Facebook Ads leads. 

As we design ad creative, we create its sister landing page. From there, we can make tweaks to the page to improve conversion rates. Little things like form position, who we featured in our testimonials, and even which button colours we chose amounted to some big improvements.

Lesson 5: The one-two punch of video advertisement.

We’ve always been huge users of video to demo the product and create awareness. We’ve created explainer videos that talk about our primary unique selling proposition and give a glimpse into the product, and these videos have been quite successful in garnering views, holding attention spans, and increasing conversions.

As we launched on Facebook, we put ad dollars behind one particular video. Again, good success, but we felt like we could do better. 

This decision was more on gut feel (it still counts!) that video had a big role to play. I mean, just scroll through your Facebook feed right now. The challenge for us was that we’d committed to the business that we’d generate trials at or below our target CPA for that entire $100K. 

Video doesn’t have that wonderful direct line to trial that a prospecting campaign does. So, we took a chance, and our product marketing manager, Chris Wolski, called up an Ottawa video production company we now affectionately call “The Rascals.”

We created a fun, 35-second explainer video that we thought would play well on Facebook and Instagram. The fact is that we generated a hundred thousand views before we could blink.

How? People were actually sharing the video with friends and family, even tagging others in the comments section. We noticed lively conversations taking place directly on the posts themselves, as if the videos weren’t advertisements at all. Here’s that video:

Facebook makes it easy to create remarketing programs by creating lists of users that engage with your video. We set up a list for anyone that watched more than 10 seconds of the video. This was a new cost-effective avenue for generating leads well within our target CPA. Video remarketing leads typically come in at about $30/trial, including the initial video buy.

More importantly, it expanded our reach on Facebook and Instagram exponentially. And we’ve seen traffic to our site go up as a direct result of these ads.

Lesson 6: Create video specifically for Facebook Ads.

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When we launched on video, we didn’t really know what to expect. Lots of views? Engagement? Shares?

As a metrics-obsessed company, we knew we needed to establish a KPI. After doing some research and chatting with peers and the account team at Facebook, we decided on Cost-Per-10-second view.

We chose this KPI to help us drive better video engagement and brand recognition. If someone was interested enough to pass over cat videos and baby pictures to watch 10 seconds of our B2B software video, then we were doing something right.

This KPI has fed directly into our production process, too. We’ve worked with The Rascals to ensure that each video includes text to account for the fact that Facebook’s default setting is to mute video. We’ve also added captions to the mix because videos on Facebook autoplay with the sound off; a whopping 85% of Facebook videos are played with no sound. We would have had disastrous results if we’d relied entirely on the audio within the video to tell our story.

The overall result has been slashing our Cost-Per-10-second view by 50%. This is huge because it means for the same dollar of spend, we’re effectively doubling our reach. And you can bet this metric is front and center on our internal social media dashboards.

Lesson 7: Ask for advice and trade ideas.

I could rant for days about how much we learned from Facebook— they were truly fantastic, and the attention we received ensured we’d be successful. That said, there are no special or secret tricks. You can find everything through a Google search for “Facebook Ads Tips.”

Putting all those tips and best practices together into a single campaign, however, is where the real challenge lies.

Throughout the process we sought advice from those who’ve been there before us, who have been learning from others years before we even thought of going this route. It probably comes as no surprise that our team now pays close attention to what other advertisers do on Facebook. In particular, I think Shopify is a leader in this respect. They do a great job of integrating video.

We’ve also struck up a friendship with the team over at PageCloud , and have enjoyed freely sharing ideas. Many of those conversations have spawned new ad campaigns and experiments. Which leads me to …

Lesson 8: Boldly experiment.

We allocated a percentage of our budget towards experimentation. When we heard about a new product from Facebook called World-Wide Delivery (WWD) we sort of rolled our eyes and remembered what we had learned about geographic bidding from Lesson 3.

But our friend Mike Empey at Facebook persuaded us to give it a try. So we did. What did we have to lose?

The experiment was a huge success and with just a small percentage of our daily budget we were able to practically double lead volume. In fact, this contributed to us setting daily trial record numbers for 3 days in a row.

When the dust had settled, we analyzed the lead quality, made adjustments to our copy and landing pages, and added WWD campaigns to our arsenal of ads.

Lesson 9: Advertising is still top of the funnel.

Asking someone to start a trial of your software is a lot like calling a friend and asking them to catch up with you over coffee in an hour. The message is out of the blue and entails a time commitment. No matter what their interest level is, they simply may not be able to do it right then.

As we stressed about hitting our trial CPA numbers, we started to lose sight of what we were really trying to do, which was raise awareness and leave our audience with positive first impressions.

In chasing those numbers, we ended up making a series of small decisions that led to us making a big mistake: we’d cut so much content from our landing page that it had basically become just an image with a signup form.

Sure, that page converted well. But it also pissed people off. Some people were getting so upset that they were commenting on the ads themselves.

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At this point, we’d driven down CPAs to about $10 under our target CPA. Our hands were sore from the amount of high-fives we’d collected and shoulders we’d patted. But in that process we committed an egregious error: we forgot about the customer.

We were so caught up in the metrics that we forgot that leads are people.

So, we did the only reasonable thing. We added essential content back into our landing pages (including video content from Vidyard into every landing page), and worked on optimizing that content so the customer could wring as much value from it as possible.

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Of course, CPAs rose. But our ad relevance and positive scores rose along with it.

That was the kind of customer-centric tradeoff we were willing to take.

Editor’s Note: Editor’s Note: a version of this post first appeared on Inbound.org, HubSpot’s community for inbound marketers. 

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from HubSpot Marketing Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/100k-on-facebook-ads

10 YouTube Pre-Roll Ads You’ll Actually Enjoy

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You technically can’t skip these ads. But you wouldn’t want to anyway.

Last year at Sundance, YouTube unveiled a new ad format to brands: the unskippable, six second “bumper” ad. To prove it was possible to cram a compelling story into such a short window, they recruited a handful of creative agencies to test drive the format — and the results were pretty convincing. 

After that, huge brands like Under Armour and Anheuser-Busch adopted the new six second ad format to tell quick but gripping stories that actually stuck with audiences.

In fact, according to Google, 90% of bumper ad campaigns boosted global ad recall by an average of 30%. That’s pretty impressive for taking up only six seconds of someone’s day.

It might seem like you can’t accomplish much in that amount of time, but with a little creativity, brands can use it to forge an emotional connection with their audience and implant a vivid memory of those feelings in their minds.

Why Six Second Pre-Roll Ads Work

Suffering through 15, 30, or even 60 second pre-roll ads prompted so many head shakes and back button clicks that eventually YouTube added a skip button to their ads in 2009. In theory, though, an ad’s first five seconds are enough to hook viewers and hold their attention for the rest of its duration.

But we all know this rarely happens. Whenever a YouTube ad pops up and shields you from your favorite video, what do you usually do? You immediately glue your eyes to the skip button’s countdown clock and wait … until those lingering seconds finally slug by.

Fortunately, the six second pre-roll ad better engages viewers. When YouTube plays such a short ad for them, it’s not as annoying as a full length ad. And when brands craft these ads into fast, captivating stories, they can resonate well with audiences.

This lets YouTube sustain their ad business while helping brands create a more enjoyable and memorable user experience for its viewers.

So if you’re leveraging YouTube’s six second pre-roll ads right now, then hats off to you. If you’re not, here are 10 examples you can reference to inspire YouTube viewers faster than a Vine could in 2013.

10 Exceptional Examples of Six Second Pre-Roll Ads on YouTube

1) YouTube

To further promote their new ad format’s creative potential, YouTube challenged filmmakers and ad agencies to retell classic pieces of literature in just six seconds.

These are some of the most complex novels ever written. So creatives needed to convey each story’s core in a simple yet spellbinding way.

Rethink, a Canadian agency, did just that. Their rendition of Hamlet is clear and concise (we all know that everyone dies when modern day Claudius spams the buy button). But it’s also unexpected and funny because it gives us a glimpse of how Hamlet could’ve transpired in today’s digital age.

2) Old Spice

You’re probably not surprised that this is an Old Spice ad. But you’re also probably laughing so hard you’re crying like that guy’s armpit.

When you watch this ad, you’re so amused that you forget Old Spice is trying to sell you deodorant. And while you’re still mid-chuckle, your favorite video begins. It’s a seamless transition. And viewers crave that. All advertisers should strive to satisfy their audience, and Wieden & Kennedy, Old Spice’s agency, know exactly how to indulge theirs.

3) Chipsmore

I know you fell for it too.

When I first saw the red face of doom, disappointment started spilling over me. But, luckily for us, the Chipsmore’s Cookie Guy saved the day.

The thing is, we just wanted to watch the ad. Imagine how someone who wanted to watch a video after it must’ve felt.

They were probably frustrated at the initial sight of the “broken” video link, then surprised when the Cookie Guy appears, which grabbed their attention. And, finally, delighted when their favorite video starts.

This ad takes its viewers on an emotional roller coaster. And, honestly, who doesn’t have fun on those?

4) Road Lodge

This is a prime example of insanely honest marketing.

Road Lodge sets the expectation that their hotel is best suited for relaxation. And not so much for partying.

You might think they’re deterring potential customers from their hotel — and you’re right — they are. But it’s actually a good thing because these people would never stay at their hotel in the first place. 

And since their honesty signals confidence, builds trust, and shows that they value their customers’ experience more than short-term profits, their target market becomes more attracted to them.

Road Lodge knows that if you’re brutally honest about your product or service, then you won’t disappoint your customers. This makes it a lot easier to maintain their loyalty.

5) Under Armour

When you play baseball, nothing matters more than your stats. They’re a direct measurement of your performance and can even define your value as a person.

Under Armour sought to uproot this belief.

In six short seconds, Droga5, Under Armour’s agency, injects purpose into ball players everywhere, motivating them to place their value in their character instead of their numbers.

6) Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes uses swift video cuts and a roaring engine to engage their viewers’ senses. This way, their audience can actually see and hear the intensity of reaching 60 MPH in only 3.8 seconds.

7) Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures used this pre-roll ad to promote the full Jason Bourne trailer, which garnered over 14 million views.

And since the ad is chock full of non-stop action, it piqued viewers’ interest and generated tremendous hype around its trailer release.

8) Burn

Burn’s pre-roll ad is so effective because it’s snappy and visually engaging. And since you can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text, a flaming fist across the face will definitely catch your eye.

The slow-mo effect also makes the ad seem longer, intensifying your viewing experience.

9) Airbnb

Family vacations are the best.

You get to explore incredible places and create timeless memories with your loved ones. Is there any other way you would want to bond with your family?

Airbnb agrees too. So their agency, TWBA, produced a charming ad that showcases the benefits of a family vacation: loads of fun and connection.

10) Geico

The Martin Agency, Geico’s creative partner, deserves a lifetime supply of car insurance for this masterpiece.

“Unskippable” was so refreshingly original, it won AdAge’s 2016 Campaign of the Year. And for good reason too. It sympathizes with your annoyance of pre-roll ads, so it ends before you can skip it. But it’s also so unique and witty that you’ll actually watch the entire ad.

Geico says this ad is impossible to skip because it’s already over. But really, this ad is impossible to skip because it’s so clever.

Seen any ads that top these? Share them in the comments below!

quality-video-cta 

from HubSpot Marketing Blog https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/best-six-second-pre-roll-ads-on-youtube

Homepages vs Landing Pages: Where to Drive Paid Traffic for Higher Conversions

I’m going to give this to you straight. If you’re directing your hard-won PPC, Facebook, Twitter or banner ad traffic to your homepage…

There is a better way.

Conversion happens on landing pages.

And your homepage is not one of them.

Why?

Your homepage is a hub. It’s a jump off point to the rest of your site’s content. A landing page is a destination. It’s where you want visitors to end up.

Let me show you what this looks like.

Where to Go (and How You Get There)

Picture this:

You’ve decided to go on vacation. You call up your travel agent. You tell him you’re in the mood for tropical climates, white sand beaches, and public intoxication.

I know just the place, he says.

Your travel agent, who moonlights as an Uber driver, picks up you up and you’re away. Ready to soak up that mojito-laden air.

But, instead of taking you to a resort, he drops you off at the airport. He leaves you there — with no idea where you’re going or what to do next.

See where I’m going with this?

You are the prospect and your travel agent/Uber driver is your ad.

You had an idea of what you wanted and where you wanted to go. But instead of him taking you there — you’re left in a crowded terminal with only one question:

What now?

Sure, you may meander around for a bit. You might even stumble upon a flight to a coastal city.

But, odds are, you’ll find someone else who will actually send you somewhere. Someone who will set you on the path to a beautiful and exotic land—ing page.

It’s About Awareness, Intent, and Direction

Every visitor who clicks on an ad, comes to your site or buys from you, is in a certain stage of problem awareness.

Here’s a brief a rundown on the five stages:

  1. Unaware – The first stage The prospect doesn’t know they have a problem. Enter Dwight. The marketer who works his nine to five, five days a week without issue or complaint.
  2. Problem-Aware – This stage comes after something triggers a feeling of discontent. A disconnect between desire and reality. It’s Dwight at his desk at 9:37am, realizing he feels burnt-out. He doesn’t know what he needs. He only knows he has a problem.
  3. Solution AwareVacation. He needs a vacation. The solution stage is when a prospect identifies a way to solve their problem. But, still unaware of the options. He doesn’t know where he can go to get the relaxation he needs.
  4. Product-AwareIceland? Sydney? Hawaii? The next stage is awareness of the available options. It’s a prospect knowing your solution exists and what it can do.
  5. Most-Aware – Dwight likes Hawaii. The final stage is when the prospect is not only aware of your solution but when it’s also the top contender.

What does this have to do with paid traffic?

Two things.

First, the awareness stage dictates what they’re looking for, why they’re looking for it and how they got there.

In a word: Intent.

Second, knowing which stage a prospect is in allows you to write targeted ad copy. It’s the copywriting adage of joining the conversation that’s already going on in their head — in action.

And it’s not only your ads. Every page on your website addresses concerns at different levels of product awareness. The goal of paid ad campaigns is to prime for conversion by moving them through these stages.

So, which would better fulfil this goal? A homepage or a landing page?

If you answered homepage. Read on.

If you answered landing page. Nice. Read on.

Why Copywriters Hate Writing Homepages

I know what some of you are thinking:

Our homepage has the product on it. By sending traffic there, we’re making visitors product-aware. Plus, it’s littered with information about our value proposition. And THAT will move them into the most-aware stage. It’s the ultimate landing page. Bazinga.

Fair point. But, remember the ultimate goal is conversion. Convincing Dwight that Hawaii is the best place to be, doesn’t mean he’s booked the ticket. Getting to the final stage of awareness is still only awareness — not action.

And although visitors are “landing” on it, I’ll say this again:

A homepage is not a landing page.

Homepages are the gateway to the rest of your site. They are for visitors at every stage of awareness. This makes writing homepage copy a bit of a doozy.

But, landing pages are purpose-built conversion-machines. They follow an optimized set of design principles. Squeezing out every sign-up, opt-in and sale possible. They do this by adhering to a staple of conversion copywriting:

The Rule of One.

The Rule of One is to design each page with one reader and one big idea in mind. For example, Spotify’s landing page for a product-aware prospect (one-reader) with a free trial offer (one big idea):

spotify premiumNo more, no less.

The purpose of the Rule of One is to convert. It gives a single visitor a single path.

This is why homepages are troublesome for copywriters. A homepage is for everybody, and so, it converts nobody. Sure, you may have a CTA above the fold, smack-dab in the center. But, how many conversions do you get compared to a purpose-built landing page?

A lot less, I’d assume.

Focus Trumps Clutter

The real problem with sending visitors to your homepage is onus of responsibility. You make them responsible for navigating through your site. You make them responsible for finding your landing pages.

You make them responsible for your conversion rate.

Let’s go back to Dwight. He knows he has a problem. He needs a solution — so he Googles:

feel less stressed work google queryDwight’s problem aware search query

And this ad comes up. What do you think he’d prefer to see when he clicks on it? A solution to his workplace woes? Or a page cluttered with links and information that may or may not be relevant?

Directing paid traffic to conversion relies on visitor expectationjoin the conversation that’s already going on in their head.

If they’re in the problem stage, they’re expecting a solution. If they’re in the solution stage, they’re expecting a product.

Give it to them.

The first page they see plays a pivotal role in convincing them your offer is worth their time and attention — make it count.

There is already plenty of content out there on designing landing pages. So we won’t get into that here. But, there is one aspect of landing page design that makes it a conversion beast:

Variation.

As in, multiple, targeted and focused designs. Here’s an example: Instapage — a landing page building platform.

If anyone knows how to design landing pages, it should be them, right?

Now, here’s where you come in. You have a problem. You need landing pages. And you need them now.

You go on the Google machine and search for “how to build landing pages”. You scroll down and click a link to Instapage’s homepage:

instapage guaranteeNot a landing page.

Immediately you see menu items, a CTA button, and a video play button. There’s also “3 Brand New Design Features” to check out. You don’t even know the old features yet.

You’re at the airport.

Why are you here? Where do you go? What’s the next step?

Now for comparison, here is the landing page after clicking on the PPC ad for the same search query:

instapage landing pageTwo roads did not diverge in a yellow wood.

See the difference?

The landing page has a clear path for the visitor to “GET STARTED NOW”. Clicking either button takes you to a page with a simple signup form — and nothing else. Below the fold, you see the features most pertinent to your search query: how to build landing pages.

instapage below the fold landing pageShould you get started or get started?

What’s more, every single clickable element leads to the same sign-up page as the first CTA button. Like Spotify’s landing page, it gives a single visitor a single path to conversion.

instapage customers tweetYes, even these testimonials at the bottom of the page are clickable.

The focus is on the visitor’s intent — anticipating their needs. And by presenting the right information, they meet their expectations.

Now, let’s see the search query: “high converting landing pages”. This is the PPC ad’s landing page:

instapage advertising landing pageNot only is the headline more ROI focused, but the hero image is also analytics-themed.

Again, above the fold there is a central focus — get started now. Below the fold are features relevant to the visitor’s intent and expectations. In comparison, the homepage now looks cluttered and directionless.

Targeted, focused, and relevant landing pages are the key to high conversions.

One company found their ad-specific landing pages outperformed their generic pages by 115%. And companies have seen a 55% increase in leads when increasing their number of landing pages from 10 to 15.

This is the beauty of directing paid traffic to landing pages. You can create them based on exactly what the visitor needs to see at their stage of awareness.

Homepages are static — There can be only one.

The Bottom Line

If you’re directing paid traffic to your homepage — you’re wasting your marketing budget.

Your homepage was never meant to be more than a central hub. A starting point. Whereas landing pages have every single element designed, tested and optimized for conversion.

You are paying money for this traffic.

If you currently have ads directed to your homepage, direct them to a relevant landing page. Go, now.

If you already direct them to a landing page, ask yourself:

  • Is this the most optimized landing page for the intended reader’s stage of awareness?
  • Does the landing page present information that they’d expect to see?
  • If it doesn’t, can I build another landing page that would be better suited?

Remember, Dwight needs the vacation. Don’t leave him wandering through the airport.

If you show him the boarding gate — he’ll get on the plane.

About the Author: Andy Nguyen is a professional copywriter for hire. He helps B2B SaaS and marketing companies produce content their audience wants to read.

from The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog https://blog.kissmetrics.com/homepages-vs-landing-pages/

How to Increase Conversions: 10 Tips to See Positive Results

As a marketer, many of your campaigns may be built around one primary objective: getting people to fill out a form.  Often, designing a compelling advertisement isn’t enough to encourage people into handing over their details. Many factors can deter someone from submitting a form, including the unwillingness to provide contact information.

Here are some content design strategies and tips that you can employ today to effectively nudge people toward conversion:

Just Say ‘No’ to Distractions

When driving people to a form, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to distract them with detours. Landing pages should be built as simple as possible. Here’s how:

1. Drive people to a landing page—not your website.

You want people to do one thing, and one thing only: fill out that form. You must drive them with a simple and engaging email to a landing page that is specifically built for your campaign. Sending someone to your website offers a plethora of distractions, including images and text that don’t apply to your campaign’s appeal, multiple links to other information, and in some cases, flashing beacons of light that are begging folks to take some other action. If you want people to drive directly to your destination, don’t drop them off in the middle of Las Vegas where sparkling lights from competing assets beg for their attention. Likewise, steer clear of cluttering your emails with the same distractions.

2. Remove ALL navigation from the landing page.

Don’t offer an exit ramp when you are trying to capture a person’s information on a form. Doing so can make your lead stray away from your primary call-to-action. Will they find their way back to your form?  Maybe.  Most of the time—no. At that point, you may have lost their impulse to decide. Instead, your landing page should be designed simply, and with only ONE action they can possibly take: fill out that form.

Be Consistent

Emails, advertisements (online and offline), and social campaigns should have a similar look and feel. Using too many different images, layouts and copy between assets can create a disconnect for people, and can even make a person feel like the content is not reliable.  Instead, try to use the following techniques in design:

  1. Use the same (or reasonably similar) header image in the outbound email and on the landing page.
  2. Repeat copy from the email on the landing page—especially the headline.
  3. Use the same color scheme in emails, landing pages, and on the form.
  4. Always provide a clear call-to-action:  don’t make people search for it!  One of my colleagues calls this the “BOB” (Big Orange Button). Top-converting emails and landing pages always contain some version of the BOB.

Do More with Less

All too often, I have seen emails and landing pages designed with too much text, and entirely too many images.  Asking people to read an entire magazine before filling out your form will certainly contribute to losing their interest.  Here are some tips on how to do more with less:

Create an impulse decision.

  • A compelling headline with a short summary of details in an email can create an impulse to react.

Don’t give up the farm!

  • Your email should be quick, to the point, and provide just enough information to drive them to the landing page—and don’t forget the BOB!
  • The juicy details should be found in the downloaded content after submitting the form, not in the email, and not all on the landing page either. Otherwise, what’s the point of filling out the form?

Keep all the important stuff above the fold.

  • Remember old-fashioned newspapers?  If you haven’t heard “above the fold” in the past, it refers to everything you see on the newspaper page before the paper folds. All the interesting, juicy, enticing, infomation and your call-to-action should be above the point where someone needs to scroll through the email or landing page in their browser.
  • Just remember “If a person must scroll, it takes a toll.”

Use a short form.

  • This may seem like a no-brainer, but I have seen a ton of long forms out there. On average, forms with five fields or less have higher conversions. Several factors can impact conversion on even short forms, however. For example, making the telephone field required is a typical detour. In some cases, simply moving the telephone field to the bottom of the form can help. Results can vary based on your content and your audience. To optimize your forms, try an A/B test and see which one is performing the best.

In this exciting new digital age, social media has impacted customer behavior in a way that creates multiple challenges for marketers. Today’s savvy internet surfers are accustomed to getting all the information they need in a short social media status message or in a brief article online. We can learn from this behavior. These micro status messages entice people to follow links to landing pages. Your content marketing strategy should do the same.

Creating short, simple, and actionable marketing messages using the techniques I described here can have a positive impact on conversion rates. While this is not an exhaustive list of conversion strategies, these basics can significantly impact your results.

Do you have any conversion strategies that you use? Please share them here!

The post How to Increase Conversions: 10 Tips to See Positive Results appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

from Marketo Marketing Blog http://blog.marketo.com/2017/06/increase-conversions-10-tips-see-positive-results.html