Cobalt Digital Marketing and the F8 of the Tech World

Facebook’s F8 conference took place last week in Silicon Valley and the tech world is once again set on its ears. From direct brain-computer interface for typing to augmented reality, special effects picture sharing and more, the F8 of the tech world appears to be glorious (and will undoubtedly have profound effects on marketing).

  1. Facebook Analytics Update

Changes in Facebook’s analytics platform will provide businesses more in-depth info on their customers’ engagement with not only their Facebook Pages but their websites, applications, services, and bots. The new analytics systems will follow customers through their entire journey, including offline conversions, and will offer businesses better insights on how marketing and ad campaigns can be used to increase engagement, and ultimately, sales.

A better understanding of ROI when using social media will help marketing teams better target specific audiences, like those who have visited a company’s website and are more likely to make a purchase.

  1. Getting in on the filter action.

What is being coined as the Camera Effects Platform, Facebook has been developing a new app that will allow users to create their own unique image and video filters and effects. Essentially turning smartphones into an augmented reality platform, Facebook users, businesses, and marketing teams will have the ability to create one-of-a-kind frames and animated effects to better engage with audiences.

As there has reportedly been a decline in sharing on Facebook, the social media juggernaut is hoping to revamp it’s sharing feature to basically make it more fun for users. Seeing how popular Snapchat’s personal and business geofilters have become, this one is sure to strike a chord with audiences.

  1. Talk to the bot.

Facebook has introduced Messenger Platform 2.0 to support their billions of monthly users and tens of thousands of active bots. One of new features in Messenger is known as the Discover Tab and will allow users to find the best bots and businesses to connect with—together.

Another improved element with be Messenger’s AI assistant, M, which will help to make customer experiences run smoother across Facebook’s multiple tools. The new API will allow brands to better track the customer experience and deliver better services like cross platform purchases and delivery.

Look for businesses to develop models to create a seamless experience across apps and devices with users being able to more easily chat with bots in a group.

  1. Augmented Reality

Zuckerberg highlighted some new AR technology features that can quickly be making their way to your smartphone (the AR demo starts at 19:22 during his keynote). And in a nutshell all we can say—COOL!

The tools previewed during the demo will allow users and brands to create fun (and informative) interactive content, such as adding 3D objects to an image or virtual pop-up cards to provide information about a product. The potential for what brands will be able to create in the digital world and in real life opens up an entirely new channel of marketing.

  1. Facebook Workplace continues to evolve.

As Facebook grows older, it’s also growing up to speak. Rather than just being the social media go-to platform for friends and families, Facebook is hoping to delve into the working world, that’s why Workplace is adding chatbots, file sharing services, and better integration with various IT compliance tools and services.

Adweek has reported that more than 400,000 groups have been created on the platform with customers as large as Starbucks and Viacom. A free version known as WorkPlace Standards is set to become available to companies and organizations relatively soon. With the potential to link businesses across the world in real time and work as a virtual office, small businesses and firms can benefit from cost savings.

  1. Smarty pants.

The development of Facebook’s Smart Replies will help to enhance customer support and automate answers so Page owners won’t have to deal with huge influxes of questions alone. Smart Replies will be able to respond to FAQs such as business hours or directions by drawing from information found on the Page and replying with the correct information.

Brands will now be able to free up some time to meaningfully engage with the audience rather than simply answers questions. Just remember that because the Smart Replies is grabbing information from your Facebook Page, you’ll need to make sure that information is being updated as necessary.

  1. VR get togethers, mind control, and more…

This week’s F8 conference also included a few more amazing topics and technologies that blew us away, including:

  • Facebook SpacesA VR app being introduced for the Oculus Rift, Facebook Spaces is going to offer friends and family an interactive virtual environment where you can chat, draw, play games, take pictures, watch videos, and more. You’ll even have your very own avatar created from images loaded onto Facebook. This one seems like the perfect virtual hangout spot.
  • Facebook is reading minds—Well, maybe not just yet, but the company’s development division is working on a neural interface that will allow a user to type by just thinking the words. Facebook comments might get even zanier than we thought imaginable.
  • Surround 360-degree camera—Technically two new versions were announced and Facebook is hoping both help to accelerate the development of 360-degree content. While the cameras definitely cost a pretty penny, the company is planning on working with businesses to lease out or rent the costly (but innovative) tech.
  • Oh yeah…there’s this whole hearing through your skin thing—Facebook’s Building 8 development department is also working on skin sensor technology that will allow the brain to recognize and translate what a person touches into symbols, words, and patterns. Yup…

Let us help you stay on top with Cobalt Digital Marketing and help you make the most of your Facebook marketing strategy or better connect your business to current and new customers.

We know that to stay competitive we need to be ahead of the curve. That’s why we are constantly researching and understanding the newest technologies that are set to emerge. Let us be the guiding light you need in the ever evolving digital marketing world.

Wrong Information is Bad for Business!

Why you need to verify your business info and how Cobalt Digital Marketing can help.

You’ve worked hard over the years to develop a reputation of quality products and premium customer service. You’ve taken the right steps to make sure that customer needs are met and your company innovative. You’ve fought tooth and nail to separate yourself from your local competition.

But even then, you might be overlooking a basic detail that can have a profound effect on your business—your online business listings.

If your sales are driven by local customers, then you need to make absolutely sure that your business listing info is correct. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, consider that just a few years ago, Placeable released a survey that found 73% of people lose trust in a local business when an online listing is incorrect.

Those listings are starting to look a lot more important now, aren’t they?

With 88% of consumers who search for a type of local business on a mobile device calling or going to that business within 24 hours, it’s a harsh reality that bad info means bad business.

Still not convinced that listing your business on leading sites like Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare, or Tripadvisor, is important? Consider this:

Getting to the Mountain Top

  1. Control your brand. Don’t be surprised to find your business on any online listings, even if you never requested it yourself. Know what that means? That you have an online reputation. And if you’re not in control of it, then who is? Claim your brand and your listings.
  1. Time to be a professional. Your online reputation can make you (or break you), so by verifying your listings and setting them up properly, you enhance your business’s professional look and customer appeal. This is especially important when you’ve just opened, purchased an existing business, or are in the process of building a website. Don’t let your competition have all the fun—get your listings verified and correct.
  1. Google it. Let’s be real, everybody uses Google (or almost everybody). As of August 2016, there were 34 billion monthly searches on Google in the US. With numbers like those, you need to have your listings verified on Google. When you do so, Google knows that the address is very likely to be accurate, so they place you in verified listings for local searches. This means that if someone is looking for a restaurant near you on Google, you’ll end up high on the search results. Not verified? Google is less likely to do so.
  1. 80% of internet users own a smartphone. Consumers are moving towards mobile searches, so verifying your company’s listings on mobile-friendly sites and apps will help to make you increasingly visible to millions upon millions of potential customers.
  1. You get to choose. Don’t let sites and apps choose what category your business should be listed under. When you verify your listings, you get to optimize and make edits to each listing, which can help you to stand out from the competition. Make sure your business address and contact information are correct on each site and app so people can find you easier.
  1. A smart choice at no fee. Gain visibility at essentially no cost to you. Most listing sites will allow you to claim and update your business information at little to no cost, which makes verification an easy and cost-effective marketing tool.
  1. Engage with your clients and potential customers. Apps like Yelp allow you upload pictures, create intriguing business descriptions, develop deals, and more, all while improving conversions and click through rates. At #SXSW17, we constantly heard about the importance of client engagement and authenticity—verification allows you to do just that.
  1. Spreading the word. Verification will get your name out across multiple platforms. The top non-paid search results for broad searches (such as those with only a city name and type of business) will often include listings on sites like YP.com, MapQuest, Angie’s List, and more.
  1. Don’t &*@! off your customers. Hell hath no fury like a customer scorned. Wrong business hours, old addresses, and the likes will definitely cost you customer trust. Avoid having bad reviews, social media coverage, and costly word-of-mouth negativity by claiming your business profiles on listing sites and makings sure all the correct information is put up.

If you’re not sure where to begin with claiming your online profiles and listings, don’t worry, Cobalt has you covered with that too.

What to Expect When Verifying

To begin, every online business index is going to have its own unique process when verifying your listing, but generally, they all have some similar steps that it’s best to familiarize yourself with.

  1. To begin with, most sites and apps will ask you to figure out whether or not your business is already in their index. You’ll usually have to enter your business name or phone number to discover any existing listings. Again, don’t be too amazed if you already exist in their database. Chances are you exist somewhere out there on the web.
  1. The next step will be to review any existing information that might be on their site/app. You’ll want to check for accuracy (and consistency across multiple platforms) by confirming your business name, address(es), phone number(s), website address, business categories, and other core details. Don’t forget that you want all this essential business information to be identical on all those online listings.
  1. The last step is what would really be the “verification” process. Again, every verification process from each individual entity is unique, but you typically see the verification happen in these ways:
  • Via a phone call and verification through a pin number
  • Via a traditional snail mail postcard and pin number verification
  • Via email

Time frames to complete the verification process vary from search engine to search engine and can last from a few days to a couple months. Regardless of the wait time, don’t make any changes to your information as this can cause problems to the process. Be patient and allow the procedure to work its course.

Future changes to core information may require re-verification, but you can usually edit things like business descriptions and photos without much hassle or the need to go through the process all over again.

Last, but not least, don’t get hoodwinked into purchasing “verification” reports from illegitimate online sources that’ll only take your money but offer no true benefits.

Instead, let Cobalt Digital Marketing help you to optimize your local online listings so that customers can find you and you can grow your clientele. Don’t settle for zero results.

Let us get your name out there so you can continue to grow and succeed.

Nice Try Google: SEO Strategies Google Gives That You Should NOT Listen To

Everybody and their mom knows SEO—or so they say.

How many supposed SEO experts have promised you a ranking on page one within a week? Never mind the fact that they’ll probably use keyword stuffing, black-hat SEO tactics, duplicate content, link building campaigns, and similar strategies that are all highly frowned upon.

Heck, even Google gives out some shoddy SEO advice from time to time, at least according to columnist Nate Dame. In a recent article published on SearchEngineLand.com, Dame gives an honest assessment of Google’s recommendations when hiring an SEO company, and accurately notes that Google is a business (just like you), so it’s important to be aware that they are going to act in a manner then benefits them first.

Now, this isn’t to say that an excellent SEO strategy involves completely ignoring Google’s best SEO practice statements, but simply, that a quality SEO business is going to take their advice with a grain of salt while still making informed decisions based on experience, up-to-date information, and experimentation.

So what should we consider from Dame’s article? Quite a bit…

#1. Nobody really sees the end of the SEO journey.

The internet is alive and evolving. What worked just last year, in terms of SEO marketing practices, won’t necessarily have the same impact this year. In other words, nobody really sees the end of the road, and adjustments have to be made accordingly.

The good folks at Google are smart enough to recognize, this as well, which means even they change features and services when things aren’t working like they expected.

For instance, Dame comments on a Google assertion from 2016 that said the search engine company was going to start penalizing sites for having intrusive interstitials. Fair enough. Except it hasn’t actually happened.

Suffice to say, they’re either waiting for some reason, or they simply changed their priorities.

Understandably, Google’s prerogatives are Google’s prerogatives, and sometimes your SEO choices have to be your SEO choices. Be informed and make decisions using a wide field of sources and expert information—don’t feel obliged to only abide by what Google says.

And if you’re running business, you have to be willing to hire an SEO company that isn’t afraid to take chances and follow what they know to be right. Plus, everybody loves a rebel. (And sometimes the rebel does it just right.)

#2. Google doesn’t always tells us the entire truth.

Is Google becoming a teenager who only tells half-truths? Maybe.

Google Analytics and Search Console are still exceedingly valuable tools when it comes to better understanding data to help you make informed SEO decisions. But be aware that Google has gotten into a habit of providing incomplete data.

Dame refers to a study published on Moz that found some inconsistencies in the manner in which Google Search Console worked, with author Russ Jones stating, “Google Search Console provides a great deal of invaluable data…[however] we should remain skeptical of this data, like any data source, and continue to test it for both internal and external validity.”

 

Ideally, your SEO company is using a variation of analytics tools and resources to ensure that they are obtaining the most pertinent data to make the best choices for your site. (Some third-party SEO tools can be found here).

Or we can consider it like this. If Google is willing to help us to see half of the picture, as an SEO company, we need to have the skills and gumption to develop the other half of the image for our clients. That is what a solid partner would do at least.

Is your SEO partner doing this for you?

#3. Sorry to break the news but…Google is a business.

Any digital marketing firm worth their chops knows that UX is the goal. Google does an excellent job of reminding those of us in the SEO world that their updates and decisions are based on the seemingly big-hearted goal of giving the people what they want—websites that are easy (and dare we say fun) to use.

Doesn’t the thought of such a loving search engine company just warm your heart? Well, just as a friendly reminder (and it’s no knock on Google) but they are a for-profit company.

It’s no secret that Google is the internet behemoth. In 2016, the company was expected to take in 11.3% of the market share, and in the first quarter of 2015, took in a whopping $17.3 billion with $15.5 billion coming from advertising sales.

Google’s paid ad space is gaining a bigger portion of real estate on search results pages, and are the advertisements are beginning to harm organic search results (i.e. businesses like yours). There’s also an aesthetic change to the labels, making them look more like earned results rather than what they really are—ads.

From organic page one results being reduced from 10 links to a current average of 8.5, and Google services overtaking previously ranked travel and shopping sites, to Google carousels resulting in users seeing more ads, it’s a bit of an eye opener to recognize that not everything Google recommends (or does) is in your website’s best interest.

Of course, this all stems from the realization that Google is a business and has the right to act in the manner that best implements its business model. Thus, when working with SEO company, they should bear in mind that Google’s recommendations should be deservedly noted—but not blindly followed.

#4. Google is still king and SEO is alive and breathing.

We’ve said it before, SEO is not dead. And Google is still the place to be seen.

The fact remains that Google search queries see an average of 40,000 searches per second. And if you ask around, Google is seeing an estimated 1.2 to 2 TRILLION searches per year worldwide (Google hasn’t given an official count themselves just yet). So don’t quit Google just yet.

When it’s all said in done, and your company is looking to hire an SEO expert, you need to do ensure that they are capable of implementing up-to-date SEO strategies that can keep you competitive and ranking.

If it’s a forward thinking digital marketing strategy, you might not always see everything align perfectly with Google recommendations, but that’s ok.

Trailblazers don’t just follow leaders blindly. They research, they dedicate time, they work furiously, and they innovate. They recognize that UX drives SEO and SEO drives sales.

If you’re looking for SEO experts that know all about Google, and then some, then look no further than Cobalt Digital Marketing. Our team of SEO experts, digital marketers, content curators, social media butterflies, and business strategist know what you need and how to get there.

Contact Cobalt today at (866) 224-5705. Today it’s Google. Tomorrow it’s the world!

Long Live the King: What We Learned About Digital Marketing and Content at SXSW

It’s been a hell of a ride here at SXSW 2017!

From seeing the always impressive Gary Vaynerchuk discussing entrepreneurship and social media changes, to Mark Cuban and tech execs discussing the government’s role in “disrupting disruption” (plus the occasional movie premier…here’s looking at you, As I Walk Through the Valley), it’s safe to say Cobalt’s very own Moe has soaked in more than enough to last until next year’s event.

But we know why you came here, so on to the good stuff…

There’s been a lot of talk here at SXSW ‘17 about the ever changing digital world and its effects on marketing. First and foremost, as per Moe’s “good friend” Gary V., it’s important to recognize that “the creative is still the variable of success.”

While there may be certain industry standards and tried-and-true methods to help you develop your marketing strategies, the truth is that every business still has the opportunity to tell their own unique story and develop their brand in a manner that separates them from the pack. Basically, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all system, and because of this, creativity is still key.

So where else should your focus be while digital marketing? Chew on this…

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Start with the fundamentals.

If you want to get from point A to point Success, you are going to have to understand your target audience. This means you have to know your business and be able to answer some very existential questions:

  • Why does it exist?
  • Why should anyone be interested in your product or service?
  • What are your business goals and how do you plan to actually get there? (Hopefully it’s not through a lot of luck.)
  • What are some things you’re not willing to compromise about your business and yourself as owner?

You’ll also want to keep a diligent eye on your data. This means tracking both qualitative and quantitative information for user engagement. Analytics will continue to play a vital role in digital marketing as it allows you to see what platforms your target market is using most and what is and isn’t working for you.

If you’re really on top of your game and effectively using that data, you’ll be able to see trends and better understand what type of engagement most resonates with your audience. Again, you have to be tracking this data effectively, but if you’re doing it right, it’ll pay off with a better idea of how to strategically have core-users interact with your brand.

Content—let it reign.

One of the main components of a solid marketing strategy is going to be site content. But it’s not enough to merely just type away and simply say a lot of amazing nothing, it’s important to have real conversations and interactions with your audience and consumers.

Don’t just talk to them, actually talk with them.

Quite a few industry leaders and forward thinkers kept bringing up the value of authenticity in content and marketing. If you really want to be the digital elephant in the room, make sure to have a real story to tell.

And let’s see who agrees…

“Mike McKenna and Jon Keegan discussed Keegan’s Blue Feed Red Feed project in the Wall Street Journal that revealed that your Facebook feed tends to reflect your political and social views, which can create “echo chambers” and confusion around real versus fake news. The key takeaway was that authentic information grounded in facts will always prevail and resonate with readers.”

– Alison Kwong, North America Public Relations Manager at “Which Truth Do You Like Best?”—The Dangers of Curated Content

“The panel focused on how brands can flourish in the sacred spaces of social feeds without annoying users or appearing inauthentic. Steve Patrizi of imgur said that for brands to succeed, they must understand the culture of each space and give more than they take in terms of value.”

– Kerry Brunelle, Social Media Strategist, at Shopping & Sacred Social Space

Wrapping it up.

 

Ultimately, social media is meant to work as an added value for your customers. Through social, you are able to provide meaningful information, knowledge, and expertise for your customers (plus the occasional funny and refreshing content).

Developing social media strategies can be a major process and take some time to “master,” but there are some essentials you should be aware of:

  • Just like content, your social media posts need to be authentic and engaging. They don’t always have to be product information or sales posts; sometimes your audience just wants a quick laugh or interesting blurb to engage with.
  • Posting frequently is going to be essential to stay relevant in the minds of your followers. By keeping your content fresh, followers are more likely to engage and connect with you. Today’s tech-driven world moves at an incredible pace, so today’s post needs to be relevant to today’s news.
  • Make things easier for yourself by using content scheduling software. MeetEdgar and Hootsuite are great platforms that can help you to manage your social media marketing in one place.

If you really want to get the inside scoop on everything Moe has been learning at SXSW ‘17, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

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SXSW

“SXSW is considered to be the biggest and most diverse event focusing on the intersection of people and technology.” -Forbes

This quote captures the exact essence of why Mauricio Pina from the Cobalt Digital Marketing team has happily taken the journey up to Austin since 2007 to immerse himself in a world of digital creativity, technological evolution, and unforgettable industry experience

Where the Future is Being Discovered

Innovation isn’t just a new product. It’s a way of thinking and living. It’s an experience and it goes by the name of South By Southwest (SXSW). This is the place where discovery and inspiration create world-breaking digital trendsetters—this is why Cobalt attends the one-of-a-kind conference. We absorb each new technique and idea so that we can bring the innovation back to you. SXSW is where the future is being discovered and Cobalt makes sure they’re in the front seat for the ride.

Can’t Make It? We Got You!

We get it. You’re not able to make it because your business comes first. But that’s fine because Cobalt’s very own co-owner Mauricio will be making the 300-mile trek up to Austin for SXSW 2017—and he’ll be keeping you up-to-date every single day with the latest industry trends, SXSW news, ingenious digital marketing tips, and also posting the occasional selfie with a celebrity. Make sure to follow his every step via Cobalt’s Facebook, Twitter (@cobalt_digital), LinkedIn, and Instagram (cobaltdigitalmarketing) pages.

It’s All For You

There’s a simple reason why Cobalt Digital Marketing participates at SXSW—for you. By staying on the cutting edge of digital marketing and technology, we’re better able to support your vision and improve your chances for success. Attending SXSW helps to set us apart from all the other digital marketers, so you can set yourself apart from all your business competition. Quite simply—when we learn and grow, so do you!

Don’t Let the Negative SEO Grinch and Bad Marketing Ruin Your Business

There’s a dark side to SEO and digital marketing.

There’s back alley negative SEO attacks. Competitors belittling your services. Falsely created business reviews. And sometimes there’s just bad marketing choices being made.

On one hand, quality digital marketing offers a seemingly infinite potential to develop and provide more effective customer experiences. This user-centered approach means interacting with customers in a way that will give you an insight on what your targeted audiences want, thus improving customer satisfaction, retention, and ultimately, revenue.

But that’s when your digital marketing works ideally.

There’s also the flip side of the coin in which things can go – bad. That’s why you need the expertise and thoroughness of a team like Cobalt Digital Marketing. Of course we work to make sure your digital marketing strategy is running smoothly, but we also like to plan ahead for when the road gets bumpy.

So what are some of these stumbling blocks we prep you for? Well, there’s:

The Negative SEO Grinch

You’ve probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (though here at Cobalt we refer to it as Search Experience Optimization). But if you don’t keep up with digital marketing much, then you’ve probably never heard of negative SEO, which is the exact opposite of what you want happening.

Rather than increasing search visibility in Google (everyone’s favorite search engine), negative SEO is aimed at demoting your site’s search ranking, or in extreme cases, having it completely removed from search. There are a number of tactics that are used to produce these negative effects including: creating fake reviews, building a massive amount of unnatural links from illegitimate websites, spamming keywords, creating duplicate content, and even hacking sites.

While Google has developed some tools dedicated to helping prevent negative SEO attacks, there’s still the possibility of being penalized because of someone else’s malicious attacks on your site. There are some indicators that can help you to detect if an active negative SEO campaign has affected your rankings including:

  • Greatly reduced search traffic. A sudden drop in search traffic is a tell-tale sign of an negative SEO attack (assuming you haven’t been performing anything shady yourself). A drop from Google rankings means a drop in revenue, so keep an eye out for this.
  • Google will tell you to play fair. Google penalizes in two different ways – manually and algorithmically. An algorithmic penalty is only spotted by noticing that drop in traffic we already mentioned. A manual penalty means Google will send you a little love note explaining why they have taken action against your site.
  • Look at the anchors clouds for your site. Spammy anchors are frequently used by negative SEO practitioners to overwhelm your site. Terms like “cheap viagra” are frequently used to disrupt your website’s reputation.

Preventing a Negative SEO Attack

A penalized website can keep you out of business for months (which can really damage your reputation and revenue) so consider the following tips that can help prevent an attack:

  • Use Google Webmaster Tools Email Alerts. These alerts can notify you if: your website is being attacked by malware, your pages aren’t indexed, you’re having server connectivity problems, or you get a manual penalty from Google.
  • Keep an eye on your backlinks. This preventative measure is one of the most important steps to take to protect your site from spammers. Tools like Ahrefs or MonitorBacklinks.com help you to track links (whether you gain or lose them).
  • Secure your website. You’ll want to protect yourself from hackers so consider using Google Authenticator Plugin for your WordPress website. Also, if your hosting company allows you to upload, check to see if it’s possible to install antivirus.
  • Monitor your social media profile. Sometimes, jealous competitors (read haters) might try to bring you down by creating fake accounts on social media using your company’s name. There’s also the possibility of falsely created reviews of your business that throw it in a negative light.
  • Play nice and don’t make enemies. There’s no reason you should be making online enemies. Arguing with clients (or anyone else for that matter) can lead to some hostile actions from others. Revenge has gone digital.
  • Don’t do negative SEO on yourself. You (or your inexperienced digital marketing team) can accidentally hurt your website by using techniques that are not acceptable to Google like:
  • Linking to penalized websites.
  • Building too many backlinks using “money” keywords.
  • Publishing a huge number of bad guest posts.

Negative SEO is alive and breathing so don’t make it any easier for malicious spammers and vengeful competition to break your business. While you can bounce back from an attack if you understand what steps to take, some small businesses aren’t so lucky.

Bad Digital Marketing Gets You a Lump of Coal

Digital marketing isn’t just about a pretty website and a fancy format. There area number of real world key metrics that need to be taken into account in order to make sure that your digital marketing strategies are effective.

Familiarizing yourself with key metrics provides insight that can help you overcome unpredictable situations. Failing to recognize the importance of these analytics can get you a nice hot heap of coal in your Christmas stocking, so pay attention to:

Total visits. Tracking this number gives you a “big picture” idea of how well your marketing campaign is doing. A sudden drop from one month to the next can help you identify and rectify any issues.

  • Channel-specific traffic. These metrics should include your direct, referral, organic, and social channels. Measuring these helps you to know where you’re going strong and where you might need to place some focus.
  • Bounce rate. This number gives you the percentage of visitors who visit your website and leave without further exploring. You’ll want this number to be low because the more time someone spends exploring your site, the higher the likelihood they’ll convert and take action.
  •  Keep an eye on conversions as this number allows you to track customer engagement on your site. This usually means filling out a form, clicking a download button, providing an email, creating an account, making a purchase, etc. Low conversions can relate to your site’s design, your product, or a lack of a targeted audience.
  • Search trends. Search trends help to guide you to the right keywords for your campaign (thus affecting your SEO).

A weak digital marketing strategy that fails to properly handle key metrics means you won’t be able to adjust your plans as needed and your revenue will start to fall – putting your business at a real risk of failure.

Do You Want to be Known as the Digital Bad Santa?

Your online presence speaks volumes about your business. Whether you guide that reputation is up to you.

The goal of an integrated digital marketing strategy is to establish a seamless online presence across web, social, and mobile that reflects your company’s vision and values. As mentioned earlier in the article, a truly malicious competitor might decide to play dirty and to smear your name with bad company reviews and negative SEO tactics.

That’s why you’ll need an experienced and analytical digital marketing team that can help you to develop a powerful brand message that defines the company’s core vision and value, as well as provide the technical support needed to ensure that when attacks do occur, your reputation and website can withstand the barrage.

A solid online presence should include:

A website tailored to your target audience with clean and clear navigation.

  • A social platform presence that serves as a two-way channel between your brand and consumers.
  • An integrated connection between all digital marketing channels that offers personalized experiences.
  • Content that informs, entertains, and adds value to your services

So are you in control of your online presence? If you’re not, then your competition just might be. And it’s a pretty safe bet that they’re making you out to be the bad Santa that can’t deliver on services.

Don’t Let the Negative SEO Grinch Steal Christmas

So we must admit that we did cover quite a bit of information here today, but if you’re still not sure why you need a competent team of professionals running your digital marketing campaign then consider this:

Digital marketing gets better Cost-Per-Lead compared to other marketing channels.

  • Digital marketing delivers conversion to leads, subscribers, and sales.
  • Digital is the future and provides small and medium enterprises revenue growth when done correctly.
  • Real-time digital marketing increases customer satisfaction, experience, and retention.
  • Digital marketing helps to cater to the ever growing mobile consumer.
  • Digital marketing builds brand reputation.
  • Digital marketing targets the right kind of people that ensure your business’s survival.

Get ready to make 2017 the best year with Cobalt Digital Marketing!

 

Vote Cobalt Digital Marketing for Precedent

This election is finally coming to an end. But it seems like marketing on social media and presidential elections have only just begun.

“The First Digital Election” of 2012 definitely offered Americans a glimpse as to how influential real-time digital media could be, but very few of us were prepared for the dramatic 2016 presidential race that played out online, 24/7 365, over the past two years.

And while this rollercoaster winds down and America begins to find its equilibrium once again, it’s pretty safe to say that digital marketing will never be the same.

So what did we learn from 2016’s presidential election?

The social media marketing precedent.

An article by Entrepreneur found that Trump has more than 10 million Twitter followers, nearly 5 million Facebook friends, and over 2 million Instagram followers. In fact, the #trump tag has been used hundreds of thousands of times over the past 24 hours.

What social media marketing has offered to candidates is the ability to reach out to potential voters with a tailored message, rather than having to deliver a single pitch to a massive population of diverse individuals.

Facebook’s News Feed, for instance, is more likely to offer content to a user based on his or her previous likes, interests, and shares. Because preferences are highly affected by one’s political leanings, by extension, so is their news feed. This means users are more likely to find news about their presidential choice and thus be subtly influenced by constant reminders to vote for that individual.

Another interesting data point is Snapchat’s proliferation. Data from Public Opinion Strategies found that of U.S. smartphone owners between the ages of 18 to 34, more than 60% of them are using Snapchat. There’s also information that points to Snapchat reaching 41% of this same demographic on any given day.

An engaging Facebook post, or one enticing tweet with an attention grabbing hashtag, can now reach more people than a newspaper, radio, and television ad that could all potentially cost thousands of dollars. This is why it is exceedingly important to run an effective social media marketing campaign, as older methods just aren’t cutting it anymore. Not sure where to begin? Let the experts at Cobalt Digital Marketing get your business the publicity it needs to thrive.

If you’re not doing #socialmedia, you’re not doing #marketing right. Click To Tweet

SEO is the winning candidate.

This election, Google was one of the hidden battlegrounds for candidates. Voters flocked in droves to find information about their candidates, and SEO became an important, albeit hushed, element in the race.

Effective campaigns utilized SEO in a number of ways that included developing their online reputation and creating meaningful content needed to inform potential voters about the candidate’s position on vital topics.

Successful SEO techniques included:

  • Determining keywords related to issues that concerned the voting population.
  • Creating content that addressed search topics.
  • Developing an attractive website that was mobile friendly.
  • Link building between positive articles and the candidates.

SEO search data was significant factor for candidates, as it allowed them the ability to measure interest, on a state-to-state basis, and helped them to draw useful conclusions regarding topics and opportunities they could explore in order to boost their favorability.   

A state-by-state comparison of this data also provided campaigns an understanding of the vary sentiments amongst voters and thus whether or not to focus their attention on a given demographic or region (or what is known in business as Return on Investment).

At its basis, SEO helped the nominees to analyze and understand the voting population to a higher degree than seen before.  

Also, by including an attractive website in their political campaigns, both candidates were able to include additional information such as endorsements, that could help to persuade voters that their “product” was better. It also provided a platform for the nominees to share their ideas and thoughts about particular news in real time, thus improving their online presence.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Trump trumped Hilary in SEO.

According to SEO analysis done by SEMRush and Moze, Trump was searched over 7 million times each month over the last 12 months, with his organic search traffic reaching 1.5 million searches.

Had an ineffective SEO strategy been in place, many uninformed voters may not have found the information needed to sway them towards voting.  

Let’s talk about emails. (And no, not Hillary’s.)

Email marketing was critical in the 2016 presidential elections and all candidates implemented some sort of email strategy because of it’s cost-effectiveness, non-invasiveness, and ability to quickly reach the masses. Whereas television and radio ads are directed to a general population, emails offer a target audience the ability to opt in or out, meaning a potential “customer” only gets what they ask for.

Hillary Clinton averaged about 6 emails weekly, while Trump sent out approximately 3 per week. Importantly, email campaigns included very clear calls to action, whether to donate, attend a rally, register to vote, or a reminder to vote.

Clinton sent avg 6 emails/wk and Trump sent avg 3/wk. #emailmarketing #election2016 Click To Tweet

Additionally, images are often utilized in email marketing campaigns as they add aesthetic value to the message and help to create brand recognition.

Running a well oiled marketing machine.

An intelligent marketing scheme starts with research. By mapping out demographics and supporters by state, as well as the percentage of active voters, your marketing ploy can create an awareness in a market that has yet to be touched.

By understanding which states support a prospective candidate, which states have the most potential support, which states show the least support, and which states have swing voters, a campaign can then begin targeting their message for the varying populations.

Aside from merely grabbing the attention of potential voters, it is the candidate’s (i.e. company’s) responsibility to turn that into action (i.e. sale). This is when the real fun starts – on the campaign trail.

Let Cobalt Digital Marketing be your campaign manager on the road to success.

The truth of the matter is that tech-savvy generations are coming of age and are the new consumers. Consider, for instance, that Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg claimed that Facebook helped more than 2 million people register to vote, last month alone.

#Facebook helped over 2mil people register to #vote. #election2016 Click To Tweet

This number is testimony to the power of social media marketing and digital marketing. Now, because of the internet and mobile devices, people are connected online in basically every corner of the world. Failing to reach out to these voters means your competition is doing so.

Don’t get left behind. Let Cobalt Digital Marketing help to maximize your online brand by building your website, developing content, driving traffic and optimizing your social media presence, all to ultimately generate sales.

With this year’s voter turnout set to break records, we think it’s safe to say digital marketing is worth your time.

Big Brother Is Watching…Oh…Never mind…It’s Just Twitter

Twitter “officially” opens its data platform, Gnip, so brands can get analytics on demographics and interest data about those who visit their sites or view their tweets. 

No…it’s not “Big Brother” that’s keeping a tab on all of your Twitter activities.  The social media platform just recognized how valuable their data can be for businesses (shocker).

So of course Twitter does have quite a bit of information about us stockpiled in their databases, but we’re talking some basic stuff here.  Gender, language, the type of music you like, what major city you’re in, cell service provider, you first crush, first kiss, when the last time you went to the bathroom was (guess which of those aren’t really being tracked).  Now, through Twitter’s Audience API system, brands can have easier access to that wealth of information.

As for now, Twitter isn’t expanding to any new interest data types that weren’t already a part of the API beta period.  The data points brands will be able to analyze will likely be:

Location: This analytic will allow brands an opportunity to figure out where their audiences are on the globe.  From what country that person resides, all the way down to what specific market area they live.  This information is garnered from Twitter’s ability to locate an individual through a web IP address, GPS signal, Wi-Fi signal, and location (if attached) to a person’s tweets.  By knowing their geographic market area, companies can invest resources strategically and offer specialty items dependent on the area’s needs.

Language:  Filtered from someone’s Twitter language setting and the actual language they write in when tweeting, this data point breaks down what percentages of their audience speaks a certain language.  Look for brands to utilize this to promote their products appropriately, rather than a hit-or-miss system.

Gender:  Gnip will provide interested brands with information about a market’s female and male percentages.  Though definitely not a bullet-proof scheme, Twitter currently assumes gender based on profile names, the accounts they follow, and then do some cross-referencing analysis.  Again, not anything groundbreaking, but such data can be optimized for sales and marketing.

Interests: Whenever you decide to follow a specific company or your favorite band, or ‘like’ every @cobal_digital tweet, then Twitter will begin to group you into defined bands dependent on those likes.  So you might fall under an audience of sports, music, and My Little Pony, and then under a sub-category of basketball and Bronies (yes we know you’re out there).  Naturally, if a company – let’s say like Nike – has you in their scopes because of this data, then they can target ads and offerings more effectively.

TV:  Again, not a completely accurate representation of the various genre-specific demographics, but Twitter is offering brands an estimate based on tweets, who people are following, and what tweets are receiving attention.  No news is…well…bad news.  Brands will definitely seek to enhance their TV presence with this info.

Now to answer the question that’s probably on your mind.

No, Twitter is not giving out specific information about individuals, such as Edward Sanchez and the fact he still sleeps with a night light (not true).  Anonymity is the key word, and data will be aggregated into groups of at least 500 accounts.  And the reality is that this information is only useful when it takes into account a large population.

But when it does make sense to interpret this information, brands will be able to get a better understanding of their market and make adjustments to their approach.

Though the API system as been available since October 2015, it’s current incarnation is easier to use.  Information can be pulled about anyone, so long as they follow a specific Twitter account, signed up for newsletters, or visited a site.

Data can also be drawn from those who already on a given brand’s customer database.  This provides for some very in-depth analysis.  Brands will be able to create various bands of audience segments without having IDs, as well as draw data from anyone who was shown an unpaid tweet within the past 90 days, or whoever engaged with a brand’s tweet by clicking on it, liking it, or retweeting it.

It’s definitely going to take some meaningful analysis for brands to fully benefit from Twitter’s Audience API system, but in today’s fast paced world, that egg will be cracked relatively soon.

And if you want to be one of these organizations on the cutting-edge of social media, tech, and marketing, then look no further than Cobalt Digital.  We stay on top of the ever changing landscape and thrive on facing new environments.

Follow us on Twitter @cobalt_digital to stay up on the latest news.