October 18, 2017

An Easy Guide to Discovering Content Ideas

Two of my favorite things, outside of my wife and daughter (of course), are 1) beer and 2) creating content from high volume keywords. I can hear you saying, “Really, Greg?” and I would say, “Yes, really.” So, what a better blog topic that combines these two and gives some tips for creating content that people actually want to read?

You might have guessed, but I’m a beer snob. I used to be ashamed to admit that because I hate being trendy, but I can’t hide the fact that 2017 is the height of craft beer mania. Check out how the term “craft beer” has trended since 2004 according to Google Trends. Craft beer may as well be Taylor Swift, pointy fake nails, Herschel bags, or one of those undercut haircuts with a tiny ponytail on top.*

*For the record, I’m currently drinking a Lamplighter Stardust IPA brewed with Simcoe, Summit, and Amarillo hops. I love Lamplighter Brewing Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts (Lamplighter employees: Hit me up to coordinate my free cases).

Cool chart, huh? It's free courtesy of the Googs' Trend tool. You can get a graph on anything you want there.

Let’s imagine I came up with the really unoriginal idea to start a beer blog. For the sake of this blog, let’s assume I want to be a source of education for beer newbies. So, where do I start? I can hear you saying, “Greg, it must be really overwhelming to figure out what to write about, right?” And I would say, “Wrong.”

With the right (mostly free tools) and a little bit of SEO know-how, you can figure out exactly what you should be writing about and how to drive traffic to your site over time. The best part is - it’s all based on real data and what people really want.

I bet a lot of beer newbies see a porter and a stout as being similar. Looking at Google Keyword Planner, we can see that “porter vs stout” gets 5400 searches per month. BAM! I’ve written my first article entitled “What is the Difference Between and Porter and a Stout?” For those of you who aren’t aware, Google Keyword Planner is linked to an existing Adwords account. If an Adwords account doesn’t exist, there’s a great free keyword research tool through “The Hoth.”

When should I write this article? In the chart below, it looks like search interest around the term “stout” peaks in the cool/cold weather months - not surprising since a stout is a hearty beer. It’s also not a surprise that searches peak around St. Patrick’s Day. Guinness is a stout and it’s one of the most famous Irish beers. With this knowledge, I’ll likely publish my article in the fall, and then maybe I’ll do another feature on stouts around St. Patrick’s Day. BAM! Who am I? Emeril Lagasse? Punch me…

Ok, so now my mind is working. What about summer beers? I see a lot of people drinking shandy-style beers in the summer. Since I actually have no idea what a shandy is, I’m going to Google “shandy” now. Based on Google’s “Auto Complete,” many other people have the same curiosity as I do:

 

Based on this tip, I confirm that many people are curious to know what a shandy is. After doing some keyword research, I see that 1600 people per month type in the exact query “what is a shandy?” Sweet.  Check out the shandy search trends below. There’s no surprise that queries around “shandy” peak in the summer since it is a light, fruity, and refreshing beer.

Search data is great and all, but what is actually resonating with the public? What have people been sharing over the past year? Using BuzzSumo (which just got acquired by Brandwatch), we can see the most shared content pieces pertaining to a given topic over a preselected period of time. I love using this tool to understand the types of content that actually resonates with the public. Check out the results below for the query “craft beer.”

An article entitled “IPAs Are Giving You Man Boobs” was shared over 93K times. This list has some great inspirations for fun and lifestyle content that I can add to my blog. Most importantly, I’m currently rubbing my chest and thinking that I might need to go to the gym.

TLDR: Use keyword data to discover and create awesome content.

  1. Google Trends to see popular searches
  2. Google Keyword Planner to see the volume of searches for particular keywords
  3. BuzzSumo to see what’s being shared in social
October 2, 2017

Pin It To Win It

Advertising on social platforms can be a great way to get your message out, but as many of us know, creating compelling content that doesn’t necessarily feel like an ad is a really tough balance to strike. Enter Pinterest’s new Pin Collective, a team of creatives that you can hire to create ads in less than 10 days.

Pinterest’s paid adoptions have been around for several years under Promoted Pins. What makes them unique is that they have designed Promoted Pins to flow in with organic content smoothly, making the viewing experience for the consumer much more pleasurable. How many times have you been scrolling through your feed and come across a jarring image that is clearly an ad? I don’t know about you, but I find that really annoying. Pinterest solves that by making the separation between organic and paid content much more subtle.

This approach is paying off. According to Pinterest, advertisers who use Promoted Pins receive an average of 20% more clicks in a month after launching a Promoted Pin.

And now, with their Pin Collective self-serve platform, marketers can use a team of content creators to make super appealing Pin ad imagery in as little as 10 days. Easy, breezy, lemon squeezy.

Let’s take a peek at some pristine pinners who are doing a great job using promoted pins. (Are these puns too much or am I pinning at this pun game?)

  1. Target

 

Not only does Target do a stand-up job at promoting its merchandise, it also showcases its products in a lifestyle setting.

2. Chobani

 

So, maybe Chobani doesn’t have a catalog of ‘perfectly pinnable products’ like Target, but they do have a cool Pinterest page packed with wellness tips, recipes, general information and inspirational quotes. Chobani is a perfect example of a brand that understands their customer base and plans their pins accordingly.

3. L.L. Bean

L.L. Bean’s Pinterest board does a fantastic job highlighting their ‘nature enthusiast’ brand with their outdoor, dog and flannel packed board.  Their paid product ads flow seamlessly into the other lifestyle imagery, inspiring viewers to get into nature wearing L.L. Bean clothes

The message is clear: Pinterest paid posts are a great tool for marketers to promote their content in a subtle and effective manner.

 

September 28, 2017

Toys R Us Is Bankrupt. Have Toys Lost Their Magic?

“Kids these days,” they say. Television viewership is declining, iPads are tethered to their grip, and Toys R Us just filed for bankruptcy. What happened to strolling through aisles of baby dolls, or turning on the TV immediately after school to see the hottest Nerf blaster during commercial breaks? Both the shopping and media consumption landscapes are shifting – and toy manufacturers have to act fast. With the rise of kids’ digital obsession, imagine trying to sell both classic and innovative toys, when the actual purchaser is mom and dad (who likely only found entertainment out of Tonka trucks growing up).

As suave digital marketers, we need to stay ahead of the game to prepare for these sorts of shifts in digital consumption by challenging current media investment – getting in-front of both kids and parents alike. Toys R Us’ bankruptcy doesn’t actually signal lower toy sales – toy sales were up last holiday season – and are expected to increase this year. With our toy-manufacturing client, AMP acted on evolving consumer purchase behavior and kept an eye on developing ad-tech, as consumers became more reliant on e-commerce sites to research, price compare, and purchase toys year-round. AMP’s Media team has transitioned from a purely Paid Search capability to one extending to managing product display ads on retail e-commerce websites.

The reality is that there’s a substantial decline in foot-traffic to stores during the holidays, which is where a lot of shopping inspiration used to take place. Why rely on the perspective of an 18-year-old sales clerk, when you can read 25+ reviews across any retail site at your fingertips? To capitalize on the growing reliance on e-commerce sites, we partnered with Criteo and Amazon Marketing Services to push inventory for specific products and gain visibility on retail sites throughout the consumer’s online journey. Best of all, we’re then able to analyze and attribute data at the product level, and pinpoint trends in both research and purchase behavior.

Through these e-Commerce vessels, we’ve been able think fast for toys and games seeing the most success with real-time data – proactively shifting investment throughout the holidays to result in the strongest return during the most competitive season. Due to the success of this investment, budget has doubled YoY and driven over $30M in Sales last holiday season. This kind of success doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a constantly evolving test and learn process. We’ve conquested viral trends (think fidget spinners), tested any and every beta to get our client(s) first to market, and cranked up investment during Thanksgiving week resulting in 70% more Sales YoY.

Although it seems like toy retail giants are struggling and 5-year-olds will one day digitally outsmart you, one thing remains the same: the magic of toys will always be in demand.

 

August 1, 2017

Product Pages + FlixMedia = More Sales

As consumers continue to buy online, retailers are under more and more pressure to refine their sites to convert to sales. However, the average conversion rate for most e-comm sites is still hovering around the 3-4% mark globally.

While there are a myriad of reasons of why someone would leave your site before buying, one of the main causes is usually attributed to not delivering the product information they were seeking. This can be solved through optimizing your product pages with more in-depth information, such as images, videos, and consumer reviews.

Given that updating an e-comm site to add this content usually requires integration between the UX, creative, development and marketing departments, it can take a while to get changes made. Enter Flixmedia, a UK-based company who is the leader in product page optimization*.

Flixmedia has made it easy for retailers to quickly add in enhanced product information to their site pages. Using existing assets, they are able to seamlessly incorporate product imagery and videos into the product page. They also use innovative technology in their dynamic hotspots, giving consumers an opportunity to interact with the product.

Why are we so obsessed with Flixmedia? Because they produce results. Adding interactive hotspots has resulted in increasing conversion rates by 28%. Adding imagery and videos to product pages has grown Add to Cart rates by an average of 23%. Don’t spend all that time and money driving traffic to a site that doesn’t convert. Optimize your product pages to give consumers the information they are looking for and leave that 3-4% in the dust.

*Full disclosure: Flixmedia is owned by our same parent company, Advantage Solutions

July 24, 2017

Content Marketing: Being Honest and Keeping Your Friends

I just read a Content Marketing article which discussed whether Content Marketing needs to be rebranded now that it’s been a buzz term in the industry for a handful of years. For those of you that know me, I absolutely loathe forced marketing lingo. I’d like to think that many people see right through it, but maybe I’m overestimating the “BS” meter than people are born with.

With that said, imagine ourselves in a professional situation. Let’s assume we're colleagues and we’ve come across one another at various events and we have a cordial professional relationship. At an industry event, I turn to you and say,“What are your thoughts on leveraging a synergistic approach to acquiring palliative hydration?” Translation: “Do you want to go grab a beer with me?” Of course, you wouldn’t want to get a beer with me, because I’ve just outed myself as a giant arse.

For some reason, I feel that marketers are constantly trying to reinvent the wheel. I get it. Our job is trying to sell things, but whether we’re trying to sell something to fellow marketers or the general public, a certain level of honesty needs to be involved. This notion is especially true in the case of content marketing.

Content marketing is pretty simple. Employ a value based entity with the desired outcome of positive absorption (Non- jargon translation: Write stuff that people want to read that provides them with value). Google has figured this out. Organic rankings are no longer filled with fluff results from SEO’s overstuffing keywords and manipulating the latest algorithms. Sure, there is still an art to SEO, but organic rankings are now based on Google’s machine-based algorithms, aka robots, who ignore all the cheesy jargon.

And while we are on the topic of cheese, let’s talk about a real life example. If you’re a brand that wants to sell more cheese, try positioning yourself as the ultimate authority on cheese. Answer all of the questions people have about cheese in a useful and valuable manner. Google will see you as being a purveyor of valuable content. People will start thinking of you as an authority on cheese and they’ll trust your brand more than the brand that just tells you that their cheese is the best, and then talks about how great their founders are. If you don’t tell them which kind of cheese pairs best with Pinot Noir, somebody else will.

What it comes down to, is that agency folks need to be honest with brands. Content about mission statements or awards is not what converts. People are generally not interested in anything aside from what they’re typing into a search engine at that specific moment. Be their buddy and give them an answer they’ll feel good about. Do your research to figure out what people are looking for. You just might be rewarded with free organic traffic for years to come.

July 19, 2017

Video Killed More Than the Radio Star

RIP, 'How To' Manual 

This Sunday, like many before, I spent the majority of my morning endlessly scrolling through Facebook videos. Among the clutter of makeup tutorials, dogs playing musical instruments and babies eating lemons, I came across a video titled ‘How to do a Backflip in 5 minutes’. ‘Why?’ I thought to myself. Surely, no one wants to learn how to do a backflip from someone on the internet and risk being paralyzed. Turns out, the video had over 7MM views and tons of positive comments. While I’m sure many of these viewers were social content trolls like myself, many of these viewers were actually searching ‘how to do a backflip’ and, creator, Pigmie, apparently delivered.

This got me thinking. First, of why so many people want to learn how to do a backflip, and in what situation they would perform such a stunt? Second, how anyone with access to the internet can virtually learn how to anything online.

For example, some of YouTube’s all-time favorite ‘How to Videos’ consist of ‘How To: Dance, make a paper airplane, curl your hair, make cake, get six pack abs in 3 minutes, draw, tie a tie, do makeup.

(Prepopulated YouTube search on July 17th)

Clearly, people are searching for a wide range of videos on how to do virtually everything and anything.

According to Cisco, in 2017, 69% of internet traffic will be video. And, it’s no surprise that people are using this video content as a mean to satisfy their information and entertainment needs.

Don’t take it from me… check out this nifty infographic created by our friends over at HubSpot - https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/video-marketing-statistics

So, let's get down to it. How exactly can businesses benefit from shareable, social videos?  Regardless of product, industry or offering, companies can create impactful, informational and helpful videos to create an engaged audience and generate earned viewership for your company.

For example, these ‘how to life hacks’ are great opportunities for brands to create video content or sponsor an influencer to incorporate their product into their videos.

Take it from this awesome campaign by Ziplock ‘Life Needs Ziplock’:

https://ziploc.com/

Let’s bring it back to our backflipping friend. Unless you have a gymnastics company, this video would likely not impact your company, right? Wrong. Your company has the opportunity to, when the opportunity is right, earn a ton of viewership. Pigmie’s video, for example, could be a great space for a medical or insurance company to engage with consumers or sponsor a ‘follow up video’ on how to file an insurance claim after you injure yourself.

People are constantly searching for ‘how to’s’ relating to hundreds of other fields; medical, travel, insurance, automotive and much more. Questions like “how do I get a car insurance quote,” “how do I get a new passport”, “how do I change a tire”… and, you got it, guess who should be showing up in response to these searches with helpful tips? You. Exactly.

It is inevitable that video will soon be the main source of information share between companies and consumers. So, don’t get left behind. Let us help you. We are experts in social, social video, influencer marketing, video production and online marketing. To learn more about how we can get you more shares, views and buyer conversion rates, click here.

 

 

July 12, 2017

Creating a Connected Data Ecosystem

The number of marketing technology tools is rising at a staggering rate, having nearly doubled YOY in 2016. On average, 51% of organizations use 21 or more digital marketing solutions. While having the ability to access all this new information provides unprecedented insight, it frequently results in an overload of data siloed in disparate systems. Marketers are buried under a landslide of fragmented campaign metrics, products, customers, purchases, and more. And there’s seemingly no end in sight; Gartner reports that 50-65% of marketing executives plan to spend more on marketing technology in the coming year.

To make meaningful use of all this data, metrics need to be reviewed cohesively. Without a full holistic view, it’s impossible to get a complete understanding of the real story. Only analyze existing customer behavior and you may miss out on opportunities to attract new audiences. Only review site traffic from media placements, and you lack an understanding of why your customers are loyal to your brand, or how to create more of them.

The problem is that most marketing teams don’t operate with systems that talk to each other. They end up trying to manually analyze disparate data points to uncover insights, a practice that is neither scalable nor responsive in real-time. This data fragmentation is costing marketers real dollars as they lose the ability to effectively optimize campaigns and fold learnings into future plans.

An example of how some marketing departments utilize data today:

The solution begins with creating a connected data ecosystem. The concept is simple—collect all data points into a centralized system able to analyze them en masse and surface actionable insights in real-time. Using those insights, marketers can then start to roll out personalized content, translate strategies across all channels, and efficiently improve customers’ experiences.  While the initial creation of the connected data ecosystem can be time-consuming, it pays off. One example: Annuitas Group reports that businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects report a 451% increase in qualified leads.

 

Based on our experience with building ecosystems for clients, we have created a four-step process that we follow:

  • Discovery: we assess all the various systems that are collecting data around your organization. We also identify areas where the data returned may be less than perfect in quality–a very common occurrence. During this period we also outline the shared objectives and definitions of success across all the stakeholders.
  • Solution design: using our learnings from the Discovery period, we design a customized solution that aligns to your business objectives. We build a roadmap using multiple analytic approaches across our four service categories: Performance analytics, marketing sciences, research, and business intelligence.
  • Analyze: This is where the magic happens. Now that we’ve designed your ideal system, we begin to collect the data and review the outputs using our team of data analysts, statisticians, and social scientists to uncover those insights that will truly give your business the competitive edge.
  • Insights: This is when our team works with marketers and other members of your organization to communicate our findings and share recommended actions to meet your KPIs. Once the initial foundation is built, this process can be repeated multiple times over the course of the year, ensuring your teams are always up to date on the latest findings and fully able to use fresh data to inform future plans.

The creation of a connected data ecosystem takes some effort but pays off almost immediately by making teams run more efficiently with a full understanding of the current state of their business and what levers they have to achieve their goals.

June 26, 2017

Attracting Affluent Audiences

In a recent article with Glossy, FarFetch CMO John Veichmanis discussed the challenges and opportunities in marketing luxury brands to affluent audiences. They have invested a tremendous amount in data scientists and technology to get their message in front of the right people. Unfortunately, many brands aren't as lucky as FarFetch to have access to those resources, but still want to target affluent audiences. Reaching higher income earners requires more planning and a more creative approach than when targeting other audiences. Not only do the habits of the ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) differ a bit from the rest of ours, but there is tremendous competition for their attention. Reaching the UHNW requires a little ingenuity, a robust audience profile, and some great tools to get in front of them with messages that convert.

One of our luxury beauty brands reached out to us to help with targeting audiences who hadn’t yet tried their product. Although they enjoy tremendous name recognition, the whole culture in the beauty industry is centered around “try before you buy.” To attract the attention of potential customers, we wanted to break out of the typical media buy targeted at women who were between the ages of 30-55 in UHNW households. To ensure that we were targeting the exact audiences that actually would be interested in purchasing their product, we took a more innovative approach to their media strategy.

First, we reviewed the client’s data on customers who had purchased previously and their audience personas, comprised of profiles ranging from the married middle age woman to young college students who are supported by their parents. We were able to pair that data with Google Analytics and other profiling tools to start to create a database of attributes of what our ideal audience would look like.

To give our media the most impact, we also geo-fenced high-end retailers and paired the anonymous mobile IDs with the persona attributes to start building a list of those who would be the most interested in learning more about the client’s products. Using personalized messaging that aligned to our personas, we were able to tailor the ad messages to align to their interests and needs. In addition to our programmatic media buy, we also included branded and non-branded search keywords that matched how our personas were looking for solutions to their beauty needs, not just specific products.

The results have produced increased online sales for the client. Through our innovative approach, the client was able to maximize the efficiency of their media buy, targeting their ads only to people who would have the most interest in hearing from them.  

June 21, 2017

Clutch Identifies Leading Agencies in Boston

AMP Agency was recently named a leading agency in Boston from Clutch. The rankings showcase six Leaders Matrices that map the firms based on their services offered, client reviews, and past experience.

Boston's advertising agencies are recognized for their ability to utilize traditional media alongside their efforts in digital and creative services.

“These Boston-based firms vary in skill-set and technical expertise, but what unites them is their ability to deliver strong results,” said Ilse Heine, an analyst at Clutch. “They prioritize the needs of their customers, and take the time to understand their business objectives before selecting the appropriate solution.”

Using a proprietary research methodology, Clutch analysts evaluated a number of companies in the relevant segments. In addition to market presence, clientele, and work portfolio, central to the ranking process are client reviews. Clients provide insights including the scope of the project, cost-effectiveness, and how skillfully a company handled communication and organization.

Clutch’s ongoing research covers IT services, developers, and marketing agencies. Firms that are interested in being featured are encouraged to apply to be included in Clutch’s efforts. Upcoming press releases will highlight industry leaders in New York City, UK, and Canada.

Take a look at our profile on Clutch to see all of our full-length reviews.

 

June 14, 2017

AMP Agency Partners with Lotame to Achieve 455% Return on Ad Spend for a Travel Campaign

OBJECTIVE: 

As a full-service digital agency, AMP Agency is constantly developing custom audience segments for specific campaigns for its advertisers. Working for a premiere travel client, AMP’s goal was to target specific travel ads to consumers who were in-market for an upcoming trip to increase conversions. The client’s primary KPI was measuring Return on Ad Spend (ROAS), so AMP was focused on driving inbound leads and lowering the cost per acquisition.

STRATEGY:

To achieve the targeting and scale needed for a recent travel campaign, AMP began by building a “travel” audience of users who had exhibited interests in travel via data they had collected with Lotame’s DMP. Next, they partnered with ShareThis to enrich this behavioral data with ShareThis’s real-time social intent data, to understand the prime time of day and particular devices they should target for their ad campaigns. AMP also combined this data with paid search data inside Lotame’s DMP to expand the pool of high-value target customers. The travel audiences they built were then pushed out to multiple DSPs and other social targeting platforms such as Facebook.

“This partnership directly proved the value of utilizing 2nd-party data within media campaigns. It allowed us to identify users who were in the research and planning phases of their travel, thereby being able to present them with offers that were timely and relevant. To enhance the 2nd-party data, we were able to use paid search data and incorporate those keywords to identify users, expanding the pool of high value target customers for our client and reaching them across multiple channels and devices.” Samantha Weinstein, Director of Programmatic Media, AMP Agency

RESULTS: 

Combining these many sources of high-quality data allowed AMP to exceed their campaign goals by hitting travelers who were in the planning and research stage. AMP was able to achieve the following results:

• 455% Return On Ad Spend (the client’s primary KPI, which they exceeded significantly)

• 30% lead conversion rate (typically, lead conversion rate is about 23%)

• ShareThis data, onboarded into Lotame’s DMP, was the highest performer across all prospecting data lines that were tested.

Want similar results? Get in touch- info@ampagency.com 

________________________________________________________________________________________________

ABOUT AMP AGENCY

AMP Agency is a full-service integrated marketing agency with over 20 years of experience employing an “Insights Inspired, Results Driven” approach to conceive, develop and implement innovative marketing solutions which span all media channels and formats. With of ces in Boston, LA, Seattle, Austin and New York, we’re a 250+ team of intellectually curious individuals who are eager to solve your business challenges. Meet our team and see some of our innovative work at www.ampagency.com.

ABOUT SHARETHIS

ShareThis, the Sharing Intelligence Company, has been collecting and synthesizing social share data since 2007. ShareThis is the trusted pioneer of sharing data that spans the social platform walled gardens, transforming authentic human sharing behavior into actionable data outputs at scale for marketers and publishers.

ABOUT LOTAME

Lotame enables companies to use data to build stronger connections with their consumers. Lotame is proud to be the leading independent data management platform (DMP) and offer the most widely used, trusted and comprehensive data exchange in the industry. Committed to innovation, agility and – above all, customer success – the Lotame team aims to continuously nd new and meaningful ways to help its clients harness the power of data to fuel more relevant and personalized experiences across screens and devices, online and off. Lotame is headquartered in New York City, with resources around the world, including Sydney, London, Singapore, Mumbai and San Francisco.

*written in partnership with Lotame Data Solutions and ShareThis 

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