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Using Google Analytics To Measure Content Marketing

Dec 16, 2013 at 9:00am ET by Arnie Kuenn

When it comes to developing content marketing strategies, the plans created and tactics used are only as good as the results produced. You can design beautiful infographics, create useful guides and publish blog post after blog post — but if your content strategy doesn’t achieve the identified goal, what is that content worth? Not much.

With any marketing strategy, measurement and tracking are extremely important when reporting ROI, and the same is true for content marketing. There are many different tools available to gather content marketing data, though a number of useful metrics can be tracked using a tool utilized by most websites today: Google Analytics.

As valuable as it may be, Google Analytics can be overwhelming at times, especially when you are just starting out. The amount of data available are innumerable. However, there are specific subsets of data that are valuable in assessing content marketing success once you have determined your goals. Here are four different ways to measure content marketing using Google Analytics:
1. Measuring Traffic & Time On Page

Though traffic on its own doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to content marketing, it’s a great place to start. Think about it: if a page is receiving a great deal of traffic, you may assume that many people find the content on that page, or at least the headline, intriguing. However, a variety of other factors can come into play when it comes to a page’s overall traffic.

For example, your homepage may be one of the most visited pages on your site because of effective SEO strategies and other online promotion, but not necessarily because of the content available there. Taking this into consideration, a high amount of traffic doesn’t always mean that the content on that page is considered valuable to your visitors. Because of this, when measuring the traffic to a piece of content, it is best to compare the traffic of pages containing similar content. Let’s look at an example.

The graph below is a snapshot of the traffic from a specific URL that contains helpful, evergreen video content; it also happens to be the fourth most visited page on the entire site. Since it went live in June 2009, the page has received more than 25,000 total pageviews and 23,565 unique pageviews.

traffic1-600x110traffic2-600x33

A content page with a high number of page views is likely a good performer, as pages with higher views are undoubtedly drawing more interest than those of the same type with lower numbers. But an additional metric to look at alongside traffic is the average time on a specific page compared to the site average or other pages of its kind. When the average time-on-page for a certain page is higher than the site average, it implies this page captures and keeps visitors’ attention more than other pages.

In this example, the average time-on-page is almost twice the site-wide average. When traffic and time-on-site are significantly higher than those of other content in the same genre, you can use that data to gauge the page’s usefulness. In the example above, the traffic and time-on-page data are also a testament to how evergreen content can help to consistently generate traffic, as traffic has grown considerably over time.
2. Measuring Conversions

Simply defined, a conversion in online marketing is a completed transaction on a given webpage. Similarly, conversion rate is the ratio of people who visited a page to the number of people who completed a transaction. However, what is considered a “transaction” can vary greatly across industries.

An e-commerce website will consider a completed purchase as a transaction, while a company that works off of leads may consider a completed “contact us” form a transaction. In content marketing, downloads, sign ups and other actions related to content consumption can be considered transactions.

In order for conversions to be tracked effectively, you must set up a “goal” in Google Analytics. When setting up a goal, you’ll notice there are different types available:

Destination – track when a visitor gets to a specified page on your website
Duration – set a length of time in hours/minutes/seconds and select a condition (greater than or less than) and track visitors that meet those parameters
Pages/screens per visit – track visitors if they view above or below a set number of pages
Event – track an event such as a video play or whitepaper download

Let’s consider an example. In this instance, the content piece was created to leverage leads. Visitors were required to submit their first name, last name and email address in order to gain access to the download.

To track downloads, a destination goal was set, and the specified destination was a “thank you” page. When a visitor wants to download the content piece, he/she must complete the form by submitting the required personal information. Once submitted, the visitor is redirected to a “thank you” page where the content can be downloaded. The only way for visitors to get to the “thank you” page is by completing the form, so by tracking the occurrence of getting to that page through a “destination” goal, the number of people who completed the form is captured.

In the example shown below there were 203 leads (completed transactions) 1,468 pageviews, 1,287 unique pageviews, and a 2:24 average time on page.

Conversions11-600x24Conversions22-600x38

Also, when deciphering conversion metrics, be sure to consider the conversion rate (the number of pageviews compared to the number of completed transactions). If your conversion rate for a page is lower than your site- or industry-average, you may want to try A/B testing or updating the landing page to reflect best practices in order to increase the number of completed transactions.

Conversions are a great way to measure content marketing because the data tell you just how many people are consuming certain pieces of content. Conversions are especially useful if you can calculate how much each transaction is worth to your business by assigning a monetary value (different content pieces, depending on the target audience is, will be worth more or less money) to each goal.
3. Measuring Downloads

As you may know, many businesses create content and make it available to visitors by way of download. Whitepapers and guides are often obtainable for free, in exchange for a bit of personal information (name, email, etc.). However, in some cases, content is downloadable from the get-go and does not require a visitor to fill out a form. In those instances, it is crucial to set up “event tracking” in Google Analytics to capture the occurrence of someone downloading your content.

You may be asking yourself why a content piece would be offered for download without any personal information in exchange. The answer: to build trust. By offering useful content without asking for anything in exchange, you provide visitors with a sample of your content with no risk. If the content is truly useful, visitors won’t hesitate to download content from you in the future, even if it requires submitting personal information.

When content isn’t hidden behind a form, event tracking is extremely important, as this method does not allow for “destination” goal tracking, like in the previous example. You aren’t able to track the “thank you page” metrics since there is no thank you page. However, once event tracking is live, you can establish an “event” goal to track conversion rate.

Here is an example. In this case, the content piece was downloaded 5,434 times, as measured by event tracking. Also, a goal was set up to register when that event took place (someone downloaded the content). A total of 16,668 visitors, 15,144 unique visitors and 5,434 downloads were captured.

measuring-downloads-600x22measuring-downloads21-600x50

Assess the conversion rate by comparing it to that of similar content pieces. In an instance like this where the content isn’t behind a form, conversion rate is especially telling, since people do not have to provide any personal information to gain access to the content.
4. Measuring Referral Traffic

Referral traffic can also be used to measure the success of content marketing strategies. In Google Analytics, referral traffic reports illustrate visits to your site (or an individual page) that originated from an outside source. Referral traffic is tracked when a visitor clicks a link on another website (like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs etc.) to get to a page on your site.

You can measure referral traffic in Google Analytics in a couple different ways: through the referral traffic report (under “acquisition”) or on a page-by-page basis by choosing “referral path” or “full referrer” from the list of secondary dimensions.

Overview-1024x308

When promoting content, you most likely have a distribution strategy. You might share your content on various social media sites, promote it through guest blog posts and submit it to bookmarking sites. If your content is useful, it will continue to be shared over and over by your audience. One person will share on their own social networks, and then their friends may share, etc. All of that promotion will (hopefully) result in referral traffic.

Take a look at the example below that shows referral traffic to a blog post published in March 2010 from the “full referrer” secondary dimension report. Since then, the post has received 19,550 pageviews (16,480 uniques) and the average time on the page has stayed consistently above four minutes — more than double the site average.

In March of 2011 (a full year after it went live), this post was submitted to StumbleUpon, which resulted in more than 1,200 referral visits on March 11, 2011. This also showcases the value of continuing to check your content. Even after a year, the post had continued success. If the content had not been checked up on, this data could have been missed.

Measuring referral traffic can tell you what audiences respond best to your content and can influence your content marketing strategy in the future. In this case, StumbleUpon ended up referring lots of visitors. Because of this, the website owner may consider submitting similar content to StumbleUpon right away, rather than wait for someone else to do so a year later.
In Summary

Depending on the goal, there are numerous ways to measure the effectiveness of content marketing strategies, and there are a variety of tools available that can be used to collect the data to do so. However, many metrics can be tracked using the same tool, which is used by more than 10 million websites: Google Analytics. From measuring overall traffic and time-on-page to conversions, referral traffic and so much more, Google Analytics provides a wealth of information that can be used to gauge content marketing success.

What metrics tracked in Google Analytics do you find most useful when measuring content marketing performance? Let me know in the comment section below or contact NetScope for a brief phone call to quickly assess your needs!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Key Topics NetScope is Following:

How To Design A Landing Page That Converts
Google Analytics Is Installed On More Than 10 Million Websites
What Is The Future For Content Marketing? 9 Experts Weigh In

 

 

 

Common SEO Myths Dispelled
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Despite the increasing maturity of the SEO industry, there are still many unfounded beliefs, practices and tactics that website owners adhere to in an effort to top the search engine result pages (SERPs) and oust their competition.

Regardless of how many times these myths, half-truths and lies are repeated, they will never help an enterprise optimize its digital efforts. Let’s debunk four of these fallacies.
MYTH #1: Organic & Paid Search Cannot Play Nice

Many website owners fall into two types: those who choose between SEO and paid search advertising/ marketing and those looking for the “right” balance of the two.

This topic in a Sept. 2013 white paper, The Search Sandbox: Paid Plays Well with Organic. When analyzing the relationship between paid and organic search marketing for a major retail division of Hewlett Packard (HP), Kenshoo found definitive evidence that running paid search alongside organic results provided positive value.

“This research puts to rest the controversy over running paid search advertising for brands that have strong organic coverage,” said Aaron Goldman, chief marketing officer at Kenshoo in a company statement. “Our study shows that visitors arriving from paid search are more profitable than those arriving from organic search, even when you take into account traffic acquisition costs.”

The report found that paid search drives higher net revenue per visit (NRPV, which is paid search revenue minus the direct media costs from those clicks) than organic search. Plus, even with an organic result at first position, consumers still click and convert on paid listings 39.6 percent of the time. Perhaps even more importantly, Kenshoo reports that paid search is the only viable option when organic results fall off the first page, garnering 93.1 percent of a keyword’s click share (percentage of total clicks achieved when both a paid search and organic listing appear together).

Even if NRPV was equal, having an extra (paid) link on the SERP is more valuable than having just the organic link, according to the search marketing company. By leveraging a paid listing, for example, it takes up space where a competitor’s ad may appear. There is also value in the data that marketers can collect from paid search, such as the originating query or keyword that initiated the ad. Kenshoo recommends companies figure out where the gaps are in their organic search presences and use paid search to fill in those holes.

Kenshoo, and other well-informed agencies, subscribe to the truth that smart marketers are those embracing holistic approaches to search engine marketing. They are also likely the ones getting the most out of their investments.
MYTH #2: SEO is for Search Engines, Not Users

Search engines are evolving; and the richer, more dynamic experience they want to provide users is also changing the way companies need to approach on-site optimization today.

“SEO is not about gaming the system; it’s about making great content and great sites that provide value, are structurally sound and easily navigable by user and search engines alike, as well as demonstrate viable authority. It’s not easy, but it is absolutely worthwhile,” said Smarter Searches Internet Marketing Director Courtney Herda.

The recent Hummingbird update is the perfect example of Google’s affinity toward user-centric search — providing quicker, more relevant information to users. This algorithm change also marks the beginning of a new formal, broader use of semantic markup in the digital age.

By using schema.org markup, for example, websites are essentially providing additional layers of data to enable search engines to associate their sites with user queries. More specifically, since the Hummingbird update addresses how “conversational” or “voice” search queries (that take into account context, location and more) can be more useful for a searcher, site owners must provide an immense amount of information to be included in their results and semantic markup provides the optimal way to do that.

Hummingbird Feeder: Discover five semantic markup use-cases to implement today at wsm.co/seonectar.
MYTH #3: Social is not the New SEO

SEO and social is becoming one of the most effective marketing combinations. The only surefire way to leverage the new social-SEO is to create relevant, rich content that consumers want to consume and, of course, share, like, retweet, +1, etc.

“There’s a saying that says ‘Correlation does not imply causation’ and this applies to SEO,” said Smarter Searches’ Herda. “If you create great content, people will share it. If your content gets shared, it must be great.”

While there might not be an absolute direct correlation, it’s not difficult to see that share-worthy content can benefit your total digital presence.
MYTH #4: SEOs Are Scammers

This industry is closing in on two decades and SEO still doesn’t have a governing body. Companies rely on for profit companies to tell them what they can and can’t do on their websites — at least if they want to appear atop the SERPs. Over the years, many black and gray hat agencies, consultants, link builders and more have polluted the industry, leading to the common misconception that SEO is a dark art and an industry made up of liars, cheaters, scammers and spammers. Even to this day, according to Herda, it is the most common concern that SMBs have about the practice.

The fact is, according to Herda, that legitimate SEO agencies can do great work. Similarly, many of the agencies that have stood the test of time have evolved into integrated marketing agencies, taking holistic and white hat approaches to Web success.

“The spirit of SEO is to improve your website so that it ranks better,” said Herda. “When done correctly, this means the user engaging in search is getting a better experience when visiting your site because your site is more relevant to their queries.”
The Truth Will Set SEO Free

In the end, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting your business higher in the search rankings, but by leveraging a 360-degree strategy to SEO and looking at content creation, social signals, marketing mix and user experience, you’ll be living, working and optimizing in SEO truth. Let’s work together to take advantage of SEO!
Shot me an email and let’s talk.

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Maintaining and improving your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) can be exhausting. Every time search giant Google changes its algorithm, business owners and their webmasters are left with their heads spinning, trying to make adjustments so their sites don’t fall in Google’s search rankings.

Most recently, Google rolled out Penguin 2.0, a newer version of its previous Penguin algorithm update, which aims to cut down on web spam.

While trying to keep on all of Google’s changes can be a hassle, there are a large number of SEO factors that are unlikely to change any time soon. To help make SEO just a little easier, digital marketing firms Backlinko and Single Grain have created the infographic below, collecting some 200 factors that Google considers when ranking sites in its search results. The information was compiled from hundreds of sources, including SEO blogs and from statements made by Google’s head of web spam, Matt Cutts.

Here’s a glimpse, click on the image for the full infographic. Please don’t try this it home :-) , Let us help you optimize your website SEO, it’s what we do at NetScope.

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econsultancyby Danny Ashton 22 November 2013 15:04

This post from caught NetScope’s attention because it actually testing in real world examples, in other words case study with data, the results of one such tool. A link building tool, Zemanta?

Some great insights here. As with many of the interactive or digital tools that have proliferated (and continue to do so), the bottom line comes back to the knowledge of the marketers on your team. Platforms are just platforms, people that know how to use them is definitely a key that you should look at when deciding on digital partners. The tool is only as good as the user but you have to start with the performance and service of the tool. At that intersection is where you can begin to achieve marketing value and optimize ongoing results.

linksOne of my favourite talks from SearchLove London 2013 was Hannah Smith’s ‘23, 787 Ways To Build Links in 30 Minutes’.

Among Hannah’s tips for sustainable link building, she mentioned a neat tool that helped her pick up 257 links at around $14 per link.

This tool was Zemanta, a seemingly fantastic way of providing scalable outreach.

We are always looking for ways to improve our outreach process so I was very eager to give Zemanta a try, especially after hearing what the company had to say.

Their pitch was very promising: Our content would be placed in front of bloggers who were just about to write related posts, and the better the content the more links we would get. What is more, the case studies featured some outstanding links from big sites such as Forbes.com, Wall Street Journal, etc.

When I read Moz CEO Rand Fishkin’s quote, I was sold:

I’m not just a fan, I’m a believer – Zemanta is a remarkable way to build great links.

We decided to test Zemanta with 10 infographics that we knew had already done well during ‘cold outreach’ to see how many links we could get.
10 infographics, 30 days, $1,318.72 investment: the results

Quantity:

Total Earned Links: 21 (as reported by Zemanta)
Cost Per Link = $62.79

Although the results weren’t quite the ‘under $20 per link’ I had imagined, at first glance didn’t look that bad. Managing the outreach for our outreach campaigns in house, I know all too well the importance of quality links. So I decided to take a deeper look.
link authority chart

In exploring the links further, I was shocked. I found that nearly 20% of the links were out of action. Two blog posts had been removed, One site was offline and another site was 301 redirected.

21 links has now been reduced to 17

I then checked how often these blogs were updated. After running the report, I found out that the last posts made by four of the blogs were over six months ago.

17 links has now been reduced to 13

I then pulled these links in order to remove any blogs with a citation flow of zero. Shockingly, five more links were crossed off the list.

13 links is now eight

I then explored the eight remaining links as ranked by Moz Rank:

Quality

The average link from this campaign had the following characteristics:

Majestic Citation Flow = 14
Majestic Trust Flow = 5.5
Moz Rank = 3.70
5 of the sites posted within the last 3 days
3 of the sites last posted over 1 month ago.

Total cost for one of these links = $164.84

Maybe I at this stage, I shouldn’t have expected anything more, but there was not one editorial link.

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Just finished reviewing a new digital marketing technology report (thank you Kenshoo) that further cements the notion that marketers need to stop thinking in silos. Certainly not new news, but raises the question, are you as integrated as you could be to drive results?

The research suggests that Facebook advertising has a direct, positive effect on paid search marketing performance. The research analyzed recent paid search results for a big-box retailer with more than 2,500 stores in the United States. Certain segments of the target audience were exposed to both paid search and Facebook advertising, while others were exposed to paid search alone.
Top takeaways
The study found that the paid search audience segments exposed to Facebook advertising generated 30 percent more ROI. These segments also had higher average order value (24 percent higher), better click-through rates (7 percent), and a lower cost-per acquisition (4.5 percent lower).

“The main takeaway is that having ads in market on Facebook can help you get the most bang out of your buck on search marketing campaigns,” Aaron Goldman, CMO of Kenshoo, told CMO.com. “We all know that an interplay between channels exists, and we track it in different ways. Facebook ads in partnership with search go beyond just standard attribution.”

People click on ad on Facebook and then move on to search for the products in those ads on Google, Goldman added. Google seals the deal, getting the person to transact.

Marketers have been lamenting social’s lack of ROI for a while. But now, marketers can show that social is having a direct impact on other channels–channels that are driving actual sales.

“Marketers need to track the cross-channel effect,” Goldman said. “Not just channel performance in silos. Also, think about how to apply the insights of one channel to the other. For example, a retailer can see that certain products are selling really well via search. Search is a demand signal. So if you take these products to Facebook, you get better performance.”

NetScope helps clients connect the dots across the organizational silos. Sometimes it’s easier for an outside partner to help navigate this process. Let’s talk about it! Love to hear from you.

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marketwatch-logo_copyMWest Acquires Office Portfolio in North San Jose, California
Joint venture MWest, backed by DivcoWest, Ivanhoe Cambridge and TPG Real Estate adds 825,000 square feet to its Silicon Valley Portfolio

divcowest venture MWest

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 06, 2013 (BUSINESS WIRE) — MWest Properties has acquired three campuses in North San Jose, CA from Carr Properties, further expanding its Silicon Valley portfolio. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquisition includes 12 R&D and corporate office buildings totaling 825,000 square feet. The major tenants include Boston Scientific BSX +0.07% , the North American headquarters of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company TSM -0.62% and the corporate headquarters of Tessera.

“These are quality, well-managed assets with good credit tenancies in place in a market which has seen rental increases and improved vacancy rates and which continues to experience strong employment growth,” said Justin Wesley, Managing Director at MWest. “The addition of these assets creates tremendous synergies within our existing platform and significant value-add opportunities,” he added.

About MWest Properties: MWest Properties is a venture that was formed by DivcoWest, Ivanhoe Cambridge and TPG Real Estate in December 2012 to acquire the majority of assets owned by Mission West Properties (formerly, NYSE: MSW). The company’s holdings now include more than 7.1 million square feet of commercial office and R&D space across 85 properties in the Silicon Valley. MWest is focused on making additional property acquisitions in the Silicon Valley and San Francisco areas. MWest’s group of senior executives has extensive expertise in commercial property acquisition, redevelopment, and management.

About DivcoWest: DivcoWest was founded by Stuart Shiff, who founded DivcoWest Properties in 1993. DivcoWest is a vertically-integrated operating company with approximately 75 employees that provides asset, property and construction management and leasing services and has offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and Boston. DivcoWest is comprised of a dedicated group of professionals with extensive experience in sourcing, structuring, acquiring, financing, developing, redeveloping, managing, leasing and selling primarily commercial real estate and other real estate-related assets. DivcoWest employs a disciplined approach to investing on behalf of a broad base of U.S. and non-U.S. public and corporate pension funds, institutional investors and high net worth individuals, with a focus on creating value through prudent acquisitions, active management and well-timed sales. www.divcowest.com

About Ivanhoe Cambridge: Ivanhoe Cambridge is a world-class real estate company that leverages its high-level expertise in all aspects of real estate including investment, development, asset management, leasing and operations, to deliver an optimal return for its investors. Through its multiple subsidiaries, its assets in more than 20 countries are valued at over Cdn$35 billion as at December 31, 2012. Ivanhoe Cambridge is a real estate subsidiary of the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec (lacaisse.com), one of Canada’s leading institutional fund managers. For more information, visit ivanhoecambridge.com.

About TPG Real Estate: TPG Real Estate is the real estate platform of TPG, a leading global private investment firm founded in 1992 with $55.3 billion of assets under management and offices in San Francisco, Fort Worth, Austin, Beijing, Chongqing, Hong Kong, London, Luxembourg, Melbourne, Moscow, Mumbai, New York, Paris, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo. TPG has extensive experience with global public and private investments executed through leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, spinouts, joint ventures and restructurings. The firm’s real estate transactions have included ST Residential, Catellus Development Corporation, Taylor Morrison Home Corporation TMHC +4.43% , Parkway Properties, Inc. PKY +1.17% , Merin BV, the Woolgate Exchange building in the City of London, Assisted Living Concepts, LLC, AV Homes, Inc. AVHI -0.47% , and PointPark Properties (P3), among others. For more information visit www.tpg.com.

SOURCE: MWest Properties

Reposted from Google Analytics Blog Announcement

October, 2013 |

Traffic sources in Google Analytics contains some of the most popular reports in our product and are accessed daily by millions of users. That’s why we’ve been thinking about how to evolve these reports to better present your key metrics and give you a broader view of your business.

We know how important these reports are to you, and so we’re pleased to announce the launch of the new Acquisition reports which provide a window on your users’ Acquisition-Behavior-Conversion (ABC) cycle: how you acquire users, their behavior on your site after acquisition, and their conversion patterns. We conducted robust testing with users and saw that this setup was better for several reasons, including providing a better flow for analysis, more customization and well organized metrics.

The new Acquisitions will replace the ‘Traffic’ Sources’ section on the left hand navigation.

New reporting in acquisitions

As part of the new acquisitions we are also introducing two new reports:

Acquisition Overview quick summary view of traffic acquisition

Channels Report detailed view on a per channel basis

A more intuitive Overview report

The new overview report in the acquisition section is designed to provide you with a end to end view of how your business is operating giving you insights into how you are acquiring users, how they behave and who converts. By default, the Overview report shows you relative performance broken down by acquisition channels (more on that below). Use this report to get a quick look at:

Which channels acquire the most users

Which channels acquire users who engage most with your site

Which channels acquire users who result in the most conversions

Introducing channels

Channels allow you to view your traffic acquisition at a higher level of granularity, allowing you to group similar sources using rules into logical buckets we call channels. By default all users will be pre-setup with eight channels; you can choose to customize and add more at anytime.

Channels are now a first class entity in all of analytics and will be made available in custom reports and the API soon. They are also shared across users of the same profile.

Editing the Channels

You can edit the Channels to define new channels, remove existing channels, and change channel definitions. The default Channel Grouping uses system-generated definitions for each channel. For example:

System Defined Channel exactly matches Direct

System Defined Channel exactly matches Referral

The system definitions are proprietary, and reflect Analytics’ current view of what constitutes each channel. While you cannot edit any of the system definitions, you can configure new rules to define a channel. For example, you can change the definition of the Social channel:

from:

System Defined Channel exactly matches Social

to:

Source contains plus.google.com|twitter.com

The updated reports will be gradually rolling out to all users starting in October 2013. We look forward to providing a cleaner, more intuitive experience for you and better analysis of Acquisitions.

The new Acquisition, Behavior, Conversion approach provides a better emphasis on what matters most: how potential customers are acquired, how they behave, what their experience consists of, and last but not least, the outcomes from those behaviors – conversions.

We at NetScope are helping our clients make the most of these new changes. Contact us for a phone discussion on how we can improve your conversions and ROI.Thank you!

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November 11, 2013 by MarketingCharts staff11-11-2013 10-52-19 AM

Pardot recently released its “The State of Demand Generation” report and while the study contains some intuitive results – such as 9 in 10 B2B buyers’ amount of research being influenced by the cost of the productDemandGen_Page_1 – the findings are worth a look. Of note, about three-quarters of respondents agreed that they prefer different content at each stage of the research process. How long should a written piece of content, such as a
whitepaper or case study, be? Interestingly, many would prefer it to be under 5 pages.

Pardot-B2B-Buyers-Content-Length-Preferences-Nov2013
Presented with 3 choices, 70% agreed that they’d prefer the content to be under 5 pages, compared to just 2% preferring that the content being longer than that. The remaining 28% are happy with the content being as long as it takes to inform them.

Given that previous research has indicated that the content characteristics most valued by B2B buyers are breadth and depth of information, marketers apparently have their work cut out for them providing that depth in a concise format.

Meanwhile, for about 7 in 10 respondents to the Pardot survey, research for a future business purchase begins on Google, with Yahoo (5.5%) and Bing (2.8%) used by relatively few in Purchase searchs start googlecomparison. About 1 in 6 buyers say they turn to personal networks first, leaving fewer than 5% on average typically starting their search on LinkedIn (2.5%) or other social networks (2%).
After conducting their initial research, only 1 in 5 respondents said they do all of their subsequent online research in one sitting, at least when it comes to purchases that requires their boss’ approval. 7 in 10 go back online 2-3 times to do their research, while 12% go back more than 3 times.demand gen slide 2

As would be expected, virtually all of the buyers surveyed agree that as their research deepens, their search terms usually become more refined as well.DemandGen_3

About the Data: The data is based on a survey of 400 B2B buyers: 53% work for a small business; 22% work for a mid-market company; 25% work for an enterprise company; and 75% are not marketers.

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Laurie Sullivan is a writer and editor for MediaPost.2012_DMS_Sponsor_Mediapost_Logo

Search engine marketers need to put aside attempts to raise their brand’s Web site to the top of first-page query rankings through old-fashioned optimization techniques and focus on content — as well as Hummingbird, Google’s latest search algorithm for conversational search.

hummingbird

Search is on the cusp of a major transformation, and marketers need to build better content, rather than try to optimize it for search engines, per Vikram Bhaskaran, director of marketing at Freshdesk. Building algorithms that allow search engines to think like consumers becomes the holy grail, he said. Marketers must create content for a specific type of customer. That will optimize brand Web sites to land for specific consumers in the No. 1 position.

Search experts warn that a combination of content, personalized search and the Hummingbird algorithm will make ranking relevant solely to the person searching for answers to questions at any specific moment in time. Google will index and rank sites across the Web based on content, rather than keywords. It’s a well known fact that has been floating around the search industry for months.

SEO by the Sea founder Bill Slawski dug up some Google patents that may provide insight on the future of Hummingbird. One patent suggests substitution of query terms or finding terms or phrases to use to expand queries. Specific words such as “Apple” can change meaning or mean more than one thing. “Or two words that might potentially be substitutes for each other are ‘felines’ and ‘cats,’” he explains.

Some people believe that brands will get less traffic to their Web sites, but consumers landing on the pages will have a specific purpose and more likely to make a purchase or download information. Chris Marentis, CEO of digital marketing provider Surefire Social, said consumers are interacting differently with search engines, “asking longer questions through voice search.”

“Build pages in the way that answers questions using subject, predicate, and object,” Marentis said, adding that gaming the system will become a thing of the past. “Use objects, images, and videos, and with the correct semantic structure the content will get grabbed into features like Google Carousel.”

Hummingbird sorts through billions of Web pages and content to return what it believes the best answers to conversational search queries, rather than those based on keywords. It works with Knowledge Graph, which connects people, places or things. The algorithm makes keywords less important, focusing more on strings of words linked together to form a conversation such as “how do I provide better customer service.”

Google began using structured data earlier this year to support a markup language, which allows marketers to tell the engine what each piece of the content on the page means. The schema developed by Google, Microsoft and Yahoo engineers provide insight into the future of search.

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With Keyword Planner, Google has combined the functionality of Keyword Tool and Traffic Estimator to make it easier to plan search campaigns. That’s why Keyword Tool is no longer available. You can use Keyword Planner to find new keyword and ad group ideas, get performance estimates for them to find the bid and budget that are right for you, and then add them to your campaigns.

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To access Keyword Planner, sign in to your AdWords account at https://adwords.google.com. Click the Tools and Analysis drop-down menu and select “Keyword Planner.” Keep in mind that the anonymous keyword tool is no longer available. But if you were using it for other reasons, you can still get keyword ideas with Keyword Planner. All you need is an AdWords account. If you don’t have an Adwords account, learn how to create one.

Google AdWords also added several new features with Keyword Planner. As you start to use Keyword Planner, you’ll likely notice some differences between Keyword Planner and Keyword Tool. Read on to learn more about what has changed.

We can help you sort through the changes, making sure your budgets are optimized. Contact us for a SEO Audit today.