Monthly Archive: December 2018


How Digital Marketing Will Change: 17 Predictions for 2019

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The move into 2019 also comes with a shift in digital marketing.

We sat down with 17 experts to ask how the digital marketing landscape will change in the new year.

Read on to learn the digital marketing predictions for 2019, what new technologies and trends are on the horizon, and how you can prepare. Plus, hear the tactics the experts are exploring and planning to implement in 2019.

Ralph Burns, CEO of Tier 11

There’s a big change on the horizon in Facebook marketing.

At Tier 11, we specialize in growing businesses faster than they could on their own using the 2 most powerful advertising platforms on the planet, namely, Facebook and Instagram.

As a result, we do a ton of testing on these platforms. Thanks to our intimate relationship with Facebook, we’re typically among the first companies to try out new features and ad formats to deliver better results for our clients—oftentimes as a beta before the rest of the world.

Pretty. Dang. Cool.

And what I’m about to share is one of the most exciting new changes to come along to Facebook in some time.

But before I explain what it is, first let’s set the stage for why it’s so important.

If you do any advertising on Facebook, you know that mobile traffic is taking over. These days only about 1 in 3 people use Facebook on a laptop or desktop, compared to over 95% who access Facebook on a smartphone:

This is nothing new—mobile has been on the rise for years now.

But while mobile accounts for more and more traffic, it still lags behind desktops in terms of conversion rates. And a big reason for that is due to slower load speeds on mobile devices.

This is a problem because the longer it takes for your page to load, the lower your conversion rates will be:

And it’s even worse if your website isn’t mobile-optimized. Don’t even get me started there.

But recently, Facebook has taken a big step toward solving this problem with their introduction of “Facebook Instant Experiences.”

Facebook’s Instant Experiences aren’t actually new—they’re really just a revamped version of the old mobile Canvas ads. But while Canvas ads never really caught on (for one thing, they were hard to use), Instant Experience is already proving to be much, much more user-friendly and much more effective for advertisers.

With Instant Experiences, you can create a super-speedy equivalent to a landing page that will load directly inside of Facebook. You can add just about anything you want to Instant experiences, like photos, videos, lead ad forms, and any kind of pixel you want. (The Facebook pixel is automatically added, but you can also embed pixels for Google Analytics, Hotjar, etc.)

Here are a couple examples of what Instant Experiences can look like:

Notice how high-end and professional these can look? And even with all those images and videos, Facebook claims that they still load up to 15x faster than a standard mobile website.

So, what does this mean?

It’s a better experience for users who don’t like to wait, and it will result in higher conversion rates for advertisers.

It means that in 2019, you’re going to start seeing more and more Facebook ads that take place entirely on the Facebook platform. Instead of clicking an ad and being sent off of Facebook and onto a website, the ad will trigger an Instant Experience.

This is a win-win for everyone involved. It’s a better experience for users who don’t like to wait, and it will result in higher conversion rates for advertisers.

And unlike Canvas ads, which were challenging to build, Instant Experiences allow you to take advantage of templates.

Look at how easy it is to get started. First, check the box next to “Add an Instant Experience”:

Then choose the template that best fits your goals. If you want to acquire new customers, for example, start with the Customer Acquisition template and customize it from there.

Eventually, the day will come when it’s common practice to buy products and services directly inside a social platform. You’ll be able to embed a “Buy Now” button inside your Instant Experiences, allowing people to complete their purchase using a service like Google Pay or Apple Pay—all without ever leaving Facebook.

This is a big deal to Facebook since they’re always looking for new ways to keep people on their platform. So, you can bet they’ll continue to develop these Instant Experiences to make them more sophisticated, easier to use, and more effective.

Amanda Powell, Acquisitions Manager of DigitalMarketer

SEO is ever-changing. And there’s no doubt that constant algorithm changes and updates keep us on our toes.

For instance, in March 2018, you may have noticed mobile-first indexing started to roll out. And Google started indexing sites based on the mobile version of their website.

In 2019, mobile search will continue to stay relevant.

But for 2019, I have 3 main predictions for SEO that go beyond mobile that SEOs and marketers should keep an eye on…

1) Voice Search

Yep. We’ve officially welcomed robots into our homes and now interact with them regularly. This is important because, according to comScore, it’s estimated that 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

And in case you didn’t know, 2020 is basically ONE YEAR AWAY! I think it’s safe to say that it will need to be a pretty big focus for SEOs in 2019.

What does this mean for optimization?

It means search strategists need to focus on long-tail keywords and conversational language.

Voice search will also be exponentially more important for local businesses since 46% of voice search users look for local businesses on a daily basis. Alexa just got a whole lot more real.

2) Video

Video is already breaking through the search results by way of rich results on a daily basis. Here at DM, video has actually been a huge driver of our organic efforts this year. Videos like this one

Video traffic is even predicted to be 82% of ALL traffic by 2022.

What does this mean for optimization?

Transcripts will be extremely important, so Google can see the text of your video content to crawl.

You’ll also need to make sure you start optimizing your videos just like your landing pages—include keywords in the title, and description and make sure the subject matter of your video is relevant, of course.

3) Featured Snippets

One of the big scares this year for SEOs was when Google removed all links from specific queries (see here).

While the blue links were eventually added back in, it was a big insight into the future of organic search.

Google is trying to give the people what they want. Search engine algorithms want to serve users the most relevant results.

So even though the Google test isn’t active anymore, it does show that they were testing to see if it could serve only exactly what a user wanted.

What does this mean for optimization?

This means it’s more important than ever to strive for the position zero on Google.

Any content you create should be rooted in intent. And it’s becoming increasingly more important for your content to not only be informative but also useful.

Overall, 2019 is going to bring some big strategy changes when it comes to SEO. Content creation needs to be more intentional and optimization will need constant updates. But that’s the fun of SEO, it’s constantly changing, which keeps things interesting!

Mike Rhodes, Founder & CEO of WebSavvy

Most people are probably expecting me to talk about upcoming changes to Google Ads. And I would, except that I’m currently under an NDA with Google not to talk about forthcoming features.

So instead, I’m going to step back and speak more broadly about the general digital marketing trends that I see happening in 2019. And those trends fall into 3 main topics:

1) The Way People Search Is Changing

Voice search is going to continue to rise next year. It’s estimated that by 2020, 30% of all searches will be made without a screen. (And ComScore puts that number even higher, at 50%.)

This will have huge implications, in particular for SEO.

Over time, this is going to have an enormous impact on retail shopping and ecommerce.

Right now, any time you perform a search on Google, you get a screen with 10 or so organic results (plus the ads). This means that 10 companies all get a shot at your attention.

But voice search often returns only a single result. Which means the vast majority of voice searches will go to the top-ranking site for a given search term.

This is still an evolving technology, so things are bound to change. But it’s definitely something to keep your eye on in 2019.

Another change that’s on the horizon is visual search. Google Lens is a new technology that allows people to search based on images, rather than text.

For example, you can just take a picture of your friend’s shoes with your phone and Google will show you a bunch of similar-looking shoes… with a buy button underneath each one. Over time, this is going to have an enormous impact on retail shopping and ecommerce.

 2) The Way People Interact Online Is Changing

The way we interact with each other, and with businesses, is also changing.

In 2019, we’re going to start seeing a lot more hyper-targeted personalization on websites and in business communication.

For example, email marketing is getting smarter. More and more companies are starting to use machine learning that will track your online behavior on their website and use that data to send more personalized, more relevant emails.

Another big change coming next year is a significant increase in the use of chatbots for marketing. This is another way companies are adapting to deliver faster, more personalized communication and, ultimately, a better user experience for consumers.

3) Our Expectations Are Changing

As technology evolves, so do our expectations. And the biggest expectation that more and more of us have today is speed.

Basically, we want things to load fast.

The main place where this is still an issue is on mobile, where load times can still be frustratingly slow for some people. As a result, you can expect to see Google pushing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in 2019.

Here at WebSavvy, we became the single-largest user of AMP in Australia in 2018 when we moved a large number of client landing pages from regular pages to AMPs. When we did, we saw surprisingly good increases in both our load times and our conversion rates.

So, if you’re not already using AMP, I recommend you do so now.

You can also expect to hear more about Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) in 2019. Google will be pushing this technology to help promote apps that are fast, reliable, and engaging. If your business has an app, it would definitely be a good idea to look into PWA.

So, to summarize, here’s what I think we’re all going to start seeing more of in 2019:

More video. This applies to ads in general, and specifically to YouTube. Next year you’re going to start to see a greater variety of ad types on YouTube, making this a more versatile and effective advertising platform.
Influencer marketing is going to continue to grow, and I think you can expect Facebook to make a strong push toward finding a way to generate revenue from it.
Retail stores will close in record numbers, and Amazon will overtake Apple in terms of market cap. (If I were a betting man, I’d put my money in Amazon stock.)
Expect to hear more about machine learning, deep learning, and AI.

Speaking of that last bullet point:

AI is all about prediction. It’s our way of training machines to make better and faster predictions about all sorts of things. (What ads are we most likely to respond to? What search phrase are we most likely to be interested in? What shows on Netflix are we most likely to want to watch?)

Our job as humans will be to add judgment and creativity to the mix to help guide all of this machine learning in a productive direction.

And as these predictions become faster, cheaper, and more accurate, this will lead to an increase in the need for—and the value of—human judgment and creativity.

In other words: as the machines begin to do more of the boring stuff, our job as humans will be to add judgment and creativity to the mix to help guide all of this machine learning in a productive direction.

So, I also recommend making sure creativity is a large part of what you do. And if it isn’t, you might want to start moving in that direction in 2019.

(NOTE: Before you launch your marketing campaign, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Kathryn Aragon, Founder of Kathryn Aragon Media

In 2019, content marketing will become more balanced and realistic.

For years, content marketing has been hailed as king of all digital marketing strategies.

But in the last few years, we’ve reached a saturation point. Content marketing isn’t new or exciting. The mere act of publishing a blog post doesn’t help you rank and won’t help you sell more products.

As we enter 2019, I see more businesses admitting this, much as content strategist Jacob McMillen does in this post from November 17, 2018:

I started taking a similar approach early in 2018. Clients would ask me to promise bold business results, such as doubling their traffic or raising profits by some percentage. I’ve had to tone down their expectations—as Jacob calls it, “unselling” some of what content can do.

It’s not a popular move, but it needs to happen because it’s the only way we’ll be able to make content work in the future.

So, what does it mean to “unsell” content marketing?

It means being more realistic:

Page one on Google isn’t a guarantee, especially if you’re in a competitive industry or going after a keyword that’s owned by hugely successful brands
A better blog doesn’t usually deliver higher profits
Traffic and engagement are trending down, not up, for most blogs

I see 2 reactions as brands accept the reality of these trends…

Some—the ones who are looking for easy buttons—will quit content marketing. Others—the smart ones—will understand the need for balance.

Content marketing isn’t dead. It isn’t a waste of time. It’s just changing. Again.

You see, content marketing has been around for centuries. It will continue for at least as long. As technology and society has changed, we’ve simply changed how we do it.

Source: CMI

Entering 2019, we’re at a pivot point. What’s been working isn’t working anymore, and even top content marketers are struggling to get the same results they used to get.

To fix that, we’ve raised the bar so high, it’s almost impossible to meet.

In the last year, I’ve seen pure exhaustion among content marketers. Yet they’re scared to slow down. They’re afraid of losing the engagement they still have.

In 2019, businesses will realize that content marketing isn’t the end-all of digital marketing. It’s just 1 strategy, and instead of carrying all the others, it should integrate with them.

Then, realizing this, businesses will start to relax. They’ll understand that publishing less often could actually increase engagement levels—because their followers won’t develop banner blindness toward their content.

So, what’s the strategy moving forward?

Start with your business goals. Be clear about what you’re trying to achieve in 2019.

Then think about the tactics that are most likely to deliver the results you’re looking for. Don’t rely on just 1 channel or marketing tactic. Instead, integrate them.

Look for efficiencies you can exploit.

For example, if you always run a major campaign in spring, plan your content to support that campaign. But don’t increase your editorial schedule. Slow it down. Write one well-optimized blog post a month leading up to your campaign. Pull from those posts to create a collection of graphics, memes, and quotes for social media. And use them to create a few Lead Magnets and create your funnels.

Finally, pay close attention to your numbers. If any content strategy isn’t working, don’t hesitate to give it up or change it or completely reinvent it.

In 2019, content marketing won’t be about publishing more. It will be about publishing more strategically. For some brands, that will mean publishing less. For others, it could mean breaking some of those best practices we’re so addicted to. For all of us, it will mean thinking outside the box.

Here’s what WON’T change…

Quality, authority, and authenticity will continue to matter.

You need to be relevant. Don’t get entrenched in the way you’ve always done things. Your audience is changing. You need to be aware of social and technological trends that are behind these changes—and adapt.

Copycatting doesn’t work. Discover your own strengths and your own brand personality. Then create content that expresses your own uniqueness.

Stories will continue to get results. People don’t want to hear all about you and your products. They want to hear real stories that engage them on an emotional level, that make your brand seem more human and accessible.

Neil Flinchbaugh, Founder & Digital Copywriter of NWF Digital Copywriting

As a digital copywriter, it’s part of my job to keep a close eye on how businesses are communicating with people online. And based on some of the recent changes that have happened over the past 2 years or so, I think we will see a big shift start to happen in digital copywriting next year.

In 2019, copywriting is going to take a BIG step toward becoming more personalized and conversational.

I’m specifically referring to copy written for the newest and fastest-growing online marketing medium, which is messaging apps. Check out this blog post for an explanation of just how fast Messenger Marketing is growing.

While Messenger Marketing is relatively new on the scene (Facebook didn’t open the Messenger API until April 2016), many marketers are already predicting that it will overtake email as the dominant communication channel within the next few years.

And when you compare the 2 mediums, it’s not hard to see why. Messenger is blowing email out of the water in every engagement category we’ve got:

Most Messenger Marketing in the US right now is done via Facebook Messenger. But both WhatsApp and iMessage will be following suit and opening up their APIs as well—increasing the reach of this medium even more.

So, if messaging apps really are going to overtake email as our #1 communication channel, how is that monumental shift going to affect the kind of copy we write to appeal to our customers?

First, let’s get this out of the way: the fundamentals of great copywriting WON’T change in 2019. Or in 2020, or 2021. This is true because the people you’re writing to are still human beings, and human nature isn’t likely to change anytime soon.

That means you still need to craft a killer message that speaks to a compelling desire in your audience. You still need to appeal to powerful emotions, trigger a sense of urgency, and back up your claims with social proof and other credibility-boosters.

So, the underlying message behind your sales copy is going to stay the same.

But the medium you use to communicate that message is changing, and that means the WAY you communicate that underlying message is going to have to change too.

And the biggest fundamental shift that’s happening with Messenger Marketing is that instead of talking AT people (the way we do with most other marketing mediums), you’re going to have to start conversing WITH them.

This means we’ll have to start doing a few things differently…

1) In 2019, Copy Will Be Delivered in Shorter Chunks

If you take a minute to scroll through your text messages, I’m betting you won’t see a lot of big paragraphs or long explanations. Most messages are a single sentence long. And you probably don’t send more than 3 or so messages at a time without waiting for a reply.

These are the same kind of short, succinct messages we’ll need to use when writing copy for messaging apps.

After all, most people use Messenger on their phone, where screen real estate is limited. Only a few paragraphs will fit on a phone screen at a time:

And that screen space just about cuts in half once you open the keyboard:

This is why, when writing for Messenger, you have to be ruthlessly concise.

You need to pare down your message to the absolute essentials and avoid overloading people with too much text at once.

REMEMBER: you don’t want to force your users to scroll up to see the beginning of your message. That’s a bad experience.

Now, if you have a longer message—something that requires several hundred words or more to deliver—for the love of all that’s holy, don’t just paste it inside of Messenger.

Instead, ask the user if they want to learn more about the topic. If the answer is yes, either embed a video or insert a link to a blog post on your website.

And speaking of asking questions…

2) In 2019, Copy Will Ask More Questions & Take Better Advantage of Branching Logic

Remember that conversations are a 2-way street. You can’t just yap on and on and on without giving the other person a chance to speak, or else they’ll quickly start to ignore you.

And in Messenger Marketing, the best way of getting the user’s input and feedback is by asking questions and giving the option of several quick replies. Here’s what that looks like:

This guitar chatbot makes it easy for you to specify what aspects of guitar playing you’re most interested in—which keeps you engaged with the bot because it forces you to tap a button to continue.

It feels more conversational.

But engagement is only a piece of the puzzle here. There’s another, deeper benefit to asking more questions…

3) In 2019, Marketing Messages Will Become Much More Personalized

As we begin to ask more questions in our copy, we’ll inevitably start to learn more about our audience. Asking questions is an easy way to get a quick idea of which topics your customers are most interested in.

And with that knowledge comes the ability to deliver more relevant, personalized content.

To go back to the example of the guitar chatbot, let’s say User A tells us he’s interested in Soloing. And User B tells us she’s interested in Music Theory.

You can save this information and use it to make sure that User A gets content related to Soloing, and User B gets content related to Music Theory. This will…

Reduce your unsubscribe rates
Improve your click-through rates
And most importantly, keep your users happy

It’s the same idea we already use today to segment our email marketing campaigns. But because the engagement rate on Messenger is so much higher than it is for email, we have even MORE potential to learn about our customers and deliver more personalized messaging.

And we can apply this technique to sales messages, too (not just content). For example, if you were selling an all-inclusive guitar playing program, you could write separate versions of that sales copy to appeal to each of those different interests.

So, User A would get a marketing message that focuses on how this program will help him to be a better soloist. And User B would get a marketing message that focuses on how this program will help her to master music theory.

The catch to all this is that in order to deliver this personalized content, we’re also going to have to start using more branching logic in order to take advantage of this personalization.

So instead of writing just a simple message that we deliver to everyone, businesses will need to craft multiple messages that are custom-written for each of their customer avatars.

It’s more work and will involve creating more copy and content to accommodate all these avatars, but the improved user experience and conversion rates will be well worth the effort.

Most importantly, it will help to give your users the kind of highly responsive and personal-feeling communication that they’ve come to expect.

Sunny Lenarduzzi, Founder of YouTube for Bosses

My biggest digital marketing prediction for 2019 is that YouTube will dominate as the king of long-form video platforms.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking—hasn’t it always been the dominant force in long-form content?

Well, with Facebook making a massive video push over the last couple of years and Instagram introducing IGTV, there has been competition.

But, facts are facts! Not only is YouTube the social platform most used by US adults (73%), but when it comes to long-form video, 33% of total view time on YouTube is attributed to long-form content.

And as YouTube continues to compete with traditional TV programs, the algorithm is rewarding long-form content for increased watch and session time on the platform.

Not only do you build a loyal audience, but your audience is actually paying attention to your content.

And as a creator myself, I know that if you combine long-form content with a consistent schedule, you are guaranteed to create a loyal audience. I like to call it “The Oprah Effect”—if you give your audience an exact time and date to tune in, they will be there.

YouTube, unlike other platforms, has a massive advantage when it comes to attention. Instead of a “scroll” mentality, viewers make time in their schedule to sit down and watch their favorite channels on YouTube.

So, not only do you build a loyal audience, but your audience is actually paying attention to your content—as opposed to being distracted by a million other posts on other social platforms.

People come to YouTube with the intent to watch videos—unlike other platforms—and binge watch them for long periods of time.

Other platforms will continue to try to compete, but YouTube is still the go-to video destination on the internet. And I’m seeing more and more business owners migrate over to YouTube as a valuable source of brand building and lead generation.

(NOTE: Before you launch your marketing campaign, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Josh Turner, Founder & CEO of LinkedSelling

LinkedIn’s recent rollout of “Objective Based Advertising” is going to make it even more powerful and people are going to be flocking to LinkedIn ads.

For years, LinkedIn’s advertising platform has played second (or third) fiddle to Facebook and other social media advertising platforms.

But in the past 10 months, they’ve been getting their act together and rolling out features that are helping advertisers more easily generate and track conversions.

I don’t expect a major reduction in the cost per click in the next 12 months—LinkedIn charges a premium for their audience—but what we’ve been seeing in our internal and client campaigns is a significant decrease in our cost per objective.

What is an “objective” in this case?

What I’m referring to is a higher leverage buying opportunity—a booked sales appointment or a requested sales appointment.

With LinkedIn’s ability to now measure conversions and therefore allow you to invest in the campaigns that are getting the best results, you just need the right objective for the platform.

Those who simply just copy over a Facebook ads campaign to LinkedIn are setting themselves up to struggle.

By focusing on simplifying the path to your funnel objectives and letting your high-ticket prospects cut to the front of the line in your LinkedIn campaigns, you can see a significant increase in conversions.

And the word is starting to creep out as more and more advertisers start experimenting with the high-ticket audience that LinkedIn provides.

Those who simply just copy over a Facebook ads campaign to LinkedIn are setting themselves up to struggle. For LinkedIn, the smart move is tailoring your ads to get prospects into a higher-leverage opportunity sooner.

From the changes and direction we’ve seen them heading in for the past year, my prediction is that LinkedIn continues to build out more marketer-friendly features in 2019 and becomes the most popular network for getting sales appointments for B2B businesses.

(RELATED: The 5-Message Sequence: A LinkedIn Marketing Strategy that Generated $101k+ in 9 Months)

Rachel Miller, Organic Traffic Strategist of Moolah

Content won’t matter if there isn’t a conversation to accompany it.

Last year, we saw a giant leap in the importance of conversations in the social media algorithms. The more person-to-person interactions a brand received on social media, the greater the results were of that content performing well BOTH organically and in paid media.

But not only did conversations increase the placement of content into users feeds, it also increased sales.

I predict this trend will only become stronger through 2019.

Posting videos or getting your audience to watch/read your content is not going to be enough. You will have to foster conversation as well as consumption.

And while we have seen a drastic increase in ad spend for “stand-alone” campaigns (as pictured below)…

…campaigns that are fueled by community and conversations with your audience are growing exponentially. And without any ad spend.

Brands who don’t focus on conversations are risking becoming obsolete since their customers will just have those conversations elsewhere.

We want our users to take action on content. These actions begin as a micro-conversation—a like, a heart, a fast reaction. And they work up toward a conversation. And ultimately, a sale.

Ted Prodromou, Executive LinkedIn Coach of Search Marketing Simplified, LLC

2019 is the year LinkedIn finally hits the mainstream.

Here are some reasons I think LinkedIn is ready to break out:

The Microsoft effect is starting to happen.

In 2016, Microsoft purchased LinkedIn, but we haven’t seen many changes until recently. At the end of November 2018, Microsoft briefly surpassed Apple (and Google) as the most valuable company in the world (over $770 billion) and monetizing LinkedIn is an easy way to increase their bottom line. For years, I’ve been saying LinkedIn is leaving billions on the table and it looks like Microsoft is finally seizing the opportunity.

Add to this that Facebook is reeling from bad publicity, and people are closing their accounts because of the negativity and political divide.

For a while, it seemed like I could post a cake recipe on Facebook and it would turn into a political attack by both sides. One side would blame Obama or Hillary’s email and the other side would blame Trump for one ingredient they didn’t like in the recipe. I took a few breaks from Facebook this year because of the political attacks out of nowhere. Facebook is under attack by the politicians around the world because of the way they handled the fake news attacks and Facebook isn’t responding fast enough.

For years, running Facebook ads was a great way to generate low-cost leads. But as more businesses jump into the game, ad prices rise. So it’s not as cost-effective for many businesses. Also, as people leave Facebook, your target audience may shrink.

I’m seeing a lot of chatter in many marketing groups and forums that big marketers are finally seeing the value in LinkedIn. This is good news and bad news because we all know once marketers see an opportunity, they pummel it until it’s dead.

LinkedIn is growing, but very slowly.

For years LinkedIn was adding 2 new members per second, but it’s slowed significantly. In April 2017, LinkedIn claimed they had 500 million members, and today, they are hovering around 590 million.

I have always said I prefer quality over quantity and LinkedIn is by far the highest quality community out there.

Content marketing on LinkedIn is absolutely crushing it right now. CEO Jeff Weiner announced last year that he wanted LinkedIn to become the largest content platform on the internet and LinkedIn members are responding. Thousands of articles are being published every day and native video is really taking off.

And to top it off, LinkedIn’s algorithm is constantly being tweaked to get the right content in front of you. It seems like every time I log into LinkedIn, I see subtle changes in the dashboard and mobile app.

LinkedIn is 100% committed to creating an amazing user experience and they are finally making it happen.

Sue B. Zimmerman, The Instagram Expert of Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise

In 2019, Shoppable Instagram will continue to grow and venture into shoppable services.

With over 1 billion Instagram users—500 million using Instagram every day—and over 200 million users using business profiles daily, it makes sense shopping on Instagram has exploded over the past year.

With a tap of your finger, you can go from looking at something you admire to the storefront making a purchase.

This is a huge bonus for businesses in general and even bigger for small businesses with smaller budgets.

Previously, accounts would need to direct a customer to their bio to allow them to shop, i.e. requiring an extra step for action OR pay for ads to get a direct link.

Initially, shoppable posts rolled out with shopping tags in posts in March 2018. And recently (September 2018), Instagram has expanded to shoppable tags in stories. The process is the same; connecting a business page to a catalog on Facebook, which means only products are able to be sold, not services.

With the expansion of shoppable products in stories and the success Instagram has had for being a place where people go to shop, 60% of Instagrammers say that they discover new products on Instagram and 72% of users have made a purchase from something they have seen on Instagram.

We foresee shoppable services having the same success as products.

Businesses who have service products—like spa services, coaching, nutrition programs, online programs, business downloads, and eBooks—will all be able to have a seamless buying opportunity just as products have on Instagram.

(NOTE: Before you launch your marketing campaign, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Brad Martineau, Co-Founder & CEO of SixthDivision

The past few years have been big on marketing automation and marketing funnels. And while funnels have their place, the way we understand and use them to reach new customers is going to take a BIG step forward in 2019.

I see 3 big changes coming down the road.

Funnels Are Not Enough

The first change is the growing awareness that funnels, by themselves, are not enough.

They don’t give your users the kind of experience that will make them fall in love with your brand. They’re too isolated. They involve only bits and pieces of your company rather than giving people a holistic experience of everything you have to offer.

The difference between a funnel and a customer journey is like the difference between a single subway line and a citywide public transportation system.

Instead, the world is moving toward creating more cohesive customer journeys.

The difference between a funnel and a customer journey is like the difference between a single subway line and a citywide public transportation system. The customer journey (the public transit system) includes multiple funnels (subways lines), and it provides a way of combining those funnels together to help move people not just from point A to point B, but also to point C, D, E, F, and so on.

To put it another way:

Now that marketing funnels are becoming more common, companies are starting to take a bigger-picture view. They’re starting to engineer ways to move their customers through multiple funnels. To sell them multiple products. All with the goal of maximizing revenue and providing a better experience for the customer.

And speaking of customer experience, here’s the second big change coming to marketing automation…

It’s All About the Customer Experience

Over the past few years, a lot of marketers have attempted to simply “throw up a funnel,” with varying degrees of success. In many cases, the marketer puts all of their focus on the funnel itself, rather than the messaging in the funnel or the product/service that funnel is promoting.

Well, that is not going to cut it in 2019.

Funnels are no longer new.

And it doesn’t matter how sophisticated your funnel is—people simply aren’t going to convert if you don’t spend the time to…

Create something people want
Explain it to them in a way that’s clear and compelling
Do it all through the delivery of an experience that your prospects and customers will connect with

And last but not least, here’s the third change that’s coming.

The “Client Journey Architect”

In 2019, we are going to start to see a new skillset begin to develop in the marketing world: the “Client Journey Architect.”

Right now, most marketing departments are divided in half between…

The visionary—the founder or leader who decides the direction the company is going to go
“Digital drywallers”—the people who actually put that direction into action

Well, this Client Journey Architect will sit right in the middle of these 2 groups.

In a nutshell, the Client Journey Architect will be the person who implements everything I talked about earlier.

They’re the ones who take all the disjointed, disconnected funnels and products in a company and piece them together into a more cohesive whole. Taking a bunch of solitary subway lines and turning them into a fully integrated transportation system that can take people anywhere they want to go.

That will change the landscape and economy of digital marketing because architects will be in demand at a premium and digital drywallers will become commoditized and have to level up or price down.

Nathalie Lussier, Founder of AccessAlly

In 2019, the trend toward personalization will continue, and more sites will be using visitor data to decide on the right calls to action.

I see this playing out across a combination of tools in a tech stack…

From advertising platforms like Facebook to help segment people
To email automation tools like ActiveCampaign to manage the different segments via tags
And website-specific add-ons like RightMessage and AccessAlly to personalize the website experience itself

An example of personalization at work is special offers triggered by specific on-site actions, like in the image below. Notice how the copy changes depending on the user’s relationship with you…

Or, let’s say someone completes a short quiz and based on their answers they get a special discounted offer that lines up with the needs expressed in the quiz.

Or, after visiting a specific blog category, there’s a follow-up email sequence that sends them more of the same content—without the need to opt-in again.

The technology for this type of personalization and “on the spot” segmentation and offer promotion is here. It’s just a matter of using it strategically and making sure it comes off as beneficial to the end users.

Russ Henneberry, Digital Marketing Consultant, Author, & Speaker at

As click costs from paid Google and Facebook traffic continue to rise and artificial intelligence (AI) and algorithms continue to make more and more decisions about the audiences you are targeting, 2 things will happen…

1. An Increasing Need to Get the Fundamentals Right

With AI handling more and more targeting options, the edge will slide to those who understand how to craft a great offer and articulate it well to prospects.

In other words, this is a good time to brush up on your copywriting skills.

(RELATED: Perpetual Traffic Episode 34: 14 Elements of Persuasive Ad Copy)

2. A Renewed Interest in Organic Traffic

Earning traffic from search marketing and social media is an organic (read: slow) process.

But it’s worth it for many reasons including the fact that it reduces your “Cost Per” metrics.

In other words, if you buy 1,000 clicks from Facebook for $2 a pop and get 200 leads, your Cost-Per-Lead (CPL) cost is $10. If you add 1,000 clicks from organic search and your numbers remain the same, you’ve just cut your CPL to $5.

My recommendation is to not stop your digital advertising campaigns but, instead, supplement paid traffic with low or no-cost traffic from search and social.

Shannon Goodell, Social Media Manager of DigitalMarketer

Instagram continues its rise with nearly 1 billion monthly active users and 400 million Stories users.

It’s become one of the most popular social channels. People are flocking to Instagram to escape the negativity of other platforms (Facebook and Twitter, in particular).

Here at DigitalMarketer, we consistently get more positive feedback on our Instagram posts than on all other platforms.

And in 2019, Instagram will become an even bigger player for brands.

People, especially the younger audience, go on social to be educated, entertained, and inspired. And Instagram is the perfect channel for just this. Each image posted on Instagram gets 23% more engagement than on Facebook.

Facebook (Instagram’s parent company) realizes that they must focus on Instagram to succeed.

So Facebook continues to release new features focused on monetization and making marketers’ lives easier with Instagram. These are some of the features that were released just this year; a large portion of them with a focus on improving the Story experience:

Add clickable profile usernames and hashtags in your bio
Anti-bullying features
Type modes and new fonts within stories to add personality
Adding GIFs on Stories
Mention stickers to tag account in your Stories
Shoppable Stories and posts
New shopping features for customers
Repost Instagram Stories
Re-share Instagram posts to Stories
Stickers in Stories
IGTV previews in Stories

And Instagram isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

As you can see above, the big emphasis in 2018 has been on Stories. In 2019, that will only continue (and grow).

Given this focus on Stories and monetizing them, I believe there will be even more ways to connect with your target audience through Stories. At every stage of the Customer Value Journey.

(NOTE: Before you launch your marketing campaign, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Oli Billson, Founder & CEO of Oliver Billson Marketing

Here are 4 predictions I have for 2019 that’ll help you stay on the cutting edge so you can make enormous strides in your business.

Prediction #1:  Mobile Marketing Will Provide Huge Opportunities for Businesses Who Embrace It in 2019

According to comScore, the average American adult (18+) spends 2 hours and 51 minutes on their cellphone every day. They also found mobile device adoption rates are increasing at a huge rate, surpassing 80% in 2017.

This gives you ample opportunity to capture the attention of your target audience on devices they use so frequently in their lives.

We are already taking advantage of this trend here at NextLevelBusiness. That’s why we engineered the Phone Funnel Framework™ that allows us to connect with prospects via the devices they have in their pockets: their cellphone.

The Phone Funnel Framework™ follows several steps…

…which you can learn more about from these podcast episodes:

Perpetual Traffic Episode 150: 3 Facebook Funnels to Drive More High-Ticket Leads
Perpetual Traffic Episode 170: Drive More Conversions from Facebook Messenger Using “The FSMC Formula”

If you haven’t made the shift toward focusing more on mobile marketing in your business, I highly recommend you do so. It’s a trend that will continue to progress in 2019 and beyond.

PREDICTION #2: Prospects & Customers Will Crave More Authenticity & Human Touch from Businesses in 2019

Advances in marketing automation have allowed the average business owner to grow and scale their business and make better decisions.

However, these advances have made marketing more “impersonal” to their target audiences and have eroded relationships with long-term customers.

Sure, you can implement automation to perform basic tasks. But you should implement a personal touch whenever it is possible so prospects don’t feel they’re interacting with someone hiding behind a computer.

The challenge, though, is how to scale adding a personal touch to your marketing communications without taking a lot of your time. We solved this problem by using to make personal, short videos for our customers so they don’t feel like just a number by sending.

Here’s an example of one of those videos:


The best part is these videos aren’t fancy. I just take out my iPhone and record a quick video to teach an important point or congratulate them for taking an action.

This is much more personal than sending emails. It also shows our customers that we do care for them, which boosts the chances they’ll stick around.

Of course, nothing beats taking a second and writing an old-fashioned handwritten note to clients who act on one of your offers, or a long-time customer who has been buying from you for a while!

PREDICTION #3: Behavioral Marketing Will Help You Cut Through the Clutter of a Crowded Marketplace in 2019

Gone are the days when you can have a big email list, send the same generic message to all of them, and expect the same level of response you may have achieved 5 years ago.

It’s now more powerful to serve unique and specific content and marketing messages to prospects and customers based on their prior actions.


Because most of your prospects/customers see the same marketing and sales messages over and over. And they’re on other people’s mailing lists and they get their marketing messages as well, so they’re swamped!

So, you need to cut through the clutter by delivering more uniquely tailored messages that match their previous actions.

That’s why robust marketing automation software like Infusionsoft is critical for most businesses. It allows you to segment user based on their previous actions automatically.

It also allows you to track which emails and promotions they’re clicking on and buying, respectively, so you can get an accurate picture of what your prospects and customers REALLY want.

PREDICTION #4: Social Proof Needs to Be More Specific & Robust in 2019

Social proof is extremely important when it comes to marketing. Prospects and customers want to see that other people have had success getting the result they desire from using your product/service.

The problem is most businesses don’t have enough social proof, or the proof they have doesn’t match their target demographic.

An example is a consulting company who is trying to target lawyers, but all the social proof they have on their website is from dentists.

The solution is to collect reviews aligned to specific buyer personas (a.k.a. customer avatars).

For example, if you’re a business who serves chiropractors who are making under $500K in revenue, then you need to have testimonials from that demographic.

Also, make sure your social proof is results-based and specific. Too many marketers have general “feel good” testimonials that don’t talk about a specific result.

To conclude, I believe 2019 will bring amazing opportunities for businesses who take these predictions to heart and adjust accordingly. That way, you can put your business ahead of the game in the new year and beyond!

Mary Kathryn Johnson, Founder & CEO of Messenger Funnels

For the last few years, in-demand professional copywriters have become extremely talented at generating long-form story copy that draws us into the worlds of their clients and gets us to trust and participate in the adventure.

I predict a very successful sub-set of professional copywriters will emerge over the course of the coming year. And that is the chatbot copywriter.

Creating good chatbot copy is an art designed to create a participatory adventure for the subscriber.

We have all heard of the conversational marketplace and the need to become conversational marketers in the new age of chatbots, AI, machine learning, and personalized marketing. But as with every new high-converting process, even the early adopters who do things poorly make money.

Many chatbots today contain copy derived from emails broken up into chunks and delivered in Facebook Messenger. Chunks of long-form story email copy are passive, and they simply tell a story in short bursts.

Creating good chatbot copy is an art designed to create a participatory adventure for the subscriber. It is designed to get subscribers to interact and participate in a journey. It is active.

As more marketers and business owners start using chatbots on Messenger, and eventually WhatsApp, iMessage, and Twitter, copywriters who are talented at generating…

Short-form story copy

…that draws us into the chatbot worlds of their clients will be in high demand!

In 2019, I predict that a new copywriting industry will be born.

And these early adopters who generate consistent revenue for their clients through their chatbot copy will become the new copywriting experts for the next decade and will drive the value of the conversational marketplace.

Dennis Yu, CTO of BlitzMetrics

Smart businesses will focus on vertical video in 2019 to drive awareness, consideration, and sales.

Just like you and me, consumers are too smart for ads. So they cherish the “man on the street” style of authentic, iPhone-captured video.

The Nike’s of the world will create high-production pieces, but even they are generating 1-minute videos to distribute on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Snapchat.

But my prediction is not an argument for more UGC (user-generated content), which is often done poorly and randomly.

Smart marketers will create “authentic-looking” videos in triggered re-marketing sequences. That means:

Vertical videos that work in a sound-off environment—using captions, simple visual effects from free phone apps
Stories instead of testimonials—to show people as humans who are multi-faceted and vulnerable, instead of yes-bots who all uniformly shill about your products and services
Sequenced content instead of a content calendar—viewers of Video A on Facebook get retargeted into Video B on another channel, and vice-versa
Many public figure pages instead of a brand monolith—to boost posts from figureheads that your audience respects, entertaining instead of just selling
Smarter attribution instead of “conversion rate”—the more mid-funnel content you have, the greater the “assist” of social to drive search traffic, chatbot to email, etc.

All this means that you must measure the flow of traffic not only down your funnel but across your channels, such that your marketing is an X*Y grid.

Your customers are moving down and across this grid, as you prioritize which boxes in this giant game of tic-tac-toe.

I predict that most marketers will fail to grasp the power of 1-minute videos because…

They don’t believe it will work in their vertical
Don’t believe they have the resources/time ($1 a day and 1-minute video)
And can’t measure the ROI (needs attribution tools like what Facebook now offers)

This is your opportunity to leap ahead of your competitors.

(NOTE: Before you launch your marketing campaign, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

The post How Digital Marketing Will Change: 17 Predictions for 2019 appeared first on DigitalMarketer.


My Secret Playbook: 28 Hacks Guaranteed to Grow Your Traffic and Sales

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Are you tired of algorithm updates?

Well, who isn’t?

From Facebook to Google, marketing is continually changing and getting harder. Even if you are willing to give these platforms money, it still doesn’t guarantee success.

You can experiment, run tests, but digital marketing isn’t as easy as it used to be. Years ago, when I started as an online entrepreneur, companies used to raise money to hire engineers and build infrastructure.

But nowadays, technology has become easy to build and companies like Amazon Web Services save you millions on infrastructure costs.

So, these days companies raise money for one main thing… can you guess what it is?


It’s become so much easier and cheaper to build companies that the majority of the money is spent on customer acquisition.

This is why marketing has become so competitive. But that shouldn’t stop you from succeeding, it just means you need to get creative in this ultra-competitive landscape.

So, to start you off… here are 28 digital marketing hacks that I still use and still work in today’s marketing landscape.

Hack #1: Video remarketing

The highest converting marketing tactic I have ever leveraged is to remarket everyone who visits my checkout page but does not convert. I then show them a video of what it would be like to be a customer… these videos appear on Facebook and YouTube.

For every dollar I spend, I typically am able to get a 17-20x return on my ad spend. If you are going to take away one thing from this post, start using this tactic.

Whether you are in B2B or B2C, this tactic works extremely well. Just keep your video to under 5 minutes in length.

Hack #2: Do the opposite

Most remarketing campaigns don’t work well because you are driving people back to the same page that they didn’t convert in the first place. So instead of doing that, when you are remarketing users, send them to a page that has the opposite pitch.

For example, if your original sales pitch was logical, try a landing page that leverages emotions instead of logic.

Just think of it this way, that person didn’t buy from you the first time for a reason. You need to show them something different if you want them to convert into a customer.

Hack #3: 2-step checkouts beat one step

From my experience, I am usually able to get a 9 to 11% lift by making my checkout pages 2 steps.

Whether it is an e-commerce site or a B2B lead generation site, 2 steps typically beat out 1 step.

It’s counter-intuitive but once someone gives you their name and email, they are more likely to give you the rest of their information because they’ve already started the process. You can also email everyone who didn’t complete the registration process and convert some of those people.

If you have a strong brand like Nike or Amazon, this doesn’t matter as much. But if you don’t, which is more likely your case, use a 2-step checkout page. Whether it is a lead generation page or an e-commerce checkout page, use a 2-step.

Hack #4: Don’t forget sidebar links

Within your blog, link to your cornerstone content within your sidebar on every page. And I literally mean every page of your blog.

You don’t have to make the links rich in anchor text… but this one little thing will give more juice to your cornerstone content.

And within a year of doing this, those pages will shoot up to the top of Google for competitive terms. This is how I rank for terms like “Google AdWords” on page 1.

Hack #5: Blend in keywords from Google Suggest

If you are already ranking for popular terms, take them and put them into Ubersuggest.

It will provide a list of long-tail phrases that people search for. Integrate those keywords (at least the ones that are related) into the same page that ranks for the main head phrase.

This one little hack will increase the traffic to your most popular pages within 30 to 60 days.

Just be careful when using this tactic because you can’t keyword stuff. You need to adjust the content to also be relevant to the long-tail phrases if you want this hack to work.

Hack #6: Don’t stop with email

Email marketing is something that most blogs and sites leverage. If you add in push notifications and you add in chatbots, however, you’ll double up the traffic you were getting from email.

In other words, if emails drive you 1,000 visitors a month, push and chatbots combined should also drive you at least another 1,000 visitors a month.

You also find that push notifications and chatbot notifications generate higher click-through rates than email, but they also receive substantially more unsubscribes.

So, the next time you are sending out an email, don’t forget to also send out that same message to your push notification and chatbot list.

Hack #7: Brand queries is the fastest way to increase rankings

No matter which industry you are going after, the more people that type in your brand name into Google and click on your site, the faster your rankings will climb.

And not just your rankings for brand related terms, more so for all of your terms.

If you want to boost your brand queries, you have to do crazy PR stunts. Companies like PRserve do them on a performance basis.

You can also monitor if the PR stunts are working by typing your brand name into Google Trends. This one trick helped me rank on page 1 for the term “online marketing.”

If you are successful with this strategy, you should see results within 2 or 3 months.

Hack #8: YouTube only cares about the first 24 hours

If you want to do well on YouTube, your video needs to do well in the first 24 hours. It’s the opposite of traditional SEO. On YouTube, you’ll rank right away and get tons of traffic if you can make sure the first 24 hours are successful.

Every time you release a video, promote it to your email list, push notification list, and messenger bot list. It’s a great way to ensure your video does well.

Hack #9: Facebook loves comments

One of the largest parts about Facebook’s algorithm is how many comments you generate. The more comments you generate the more views your videos will get and the more reach your status updates and posts will get.

Asking people to leave a simple comment helps more than a like or share.

For example, in a video, I may ask the question of… “Do you use voice search? If you do, leave a comment with yes and if you don’t, leave a comment with no.” It doesn’t matter what people type as their comment, but this is the easiest way to ensure you get 2 to 3 times more reach from Facebook’s algorithm.

I’ve tested this a handful of times and the key is to make it easy for your fans to leave a comment. If you ask them to type up a sentence or a paragraph, you’ll get fewer comments.

Hack #10: Adding the year to your title tag increases CTR

If a lot of your traffic is generating from your blog, the easiest way to boost your rankings is by getting a better click-through-rate than all of the other listings.

Adding the year in your title tag lets people know your content is up to date and relevant and typically it helps get more clicks than anything else.

For example, the title “The Complete List of SEO Tools (Updated in 2018)” would do better than “The Complete List of SEO Tools”.

Another example that worked well was, “How to Start a Blog in 2019.” That generated way more clicks as people want to know how to start a blog in today’s competitive environment.

On the flip side, if you add a year to your title tag and your content is old and outdated, you will get a lot of bounce backs, which means your rankings will go down. So be careful when using this hack.

Hack #11: Don’t put dates in your URL

A lot of bloggers and site owners put dates in their URL in hopes that news sites will crawl them.

Don’t do this!

I removed the dates in my URLs and my search traffic went up 58%. It was the easiest and dumbest marketing win I ever got. When I removed the date in my URLs, it took 30 days to see the results.

And if you leverage this hack, make sure you use 301 redirects and you update all of your internal links to the new URL.

Hack #12: Subdirectories over subdomains

People love using subdomains, but Google passes more juice to subfolders. When I changed to, I saw an instant 11% increase in search traffic.

Now, it didn’t happen overnight, but it was close enough… I saw the results within 7 days. Same when I moved the blog on into a subfolder.

If you are going to use this hack, you also need to change your internal links to the new URL and, of course, 301 redirect the old URLs to the new ones.

Hack #13: Hreflang works better with subdomains

I know above I said subdirectories work better than subdomains, but that is not true when you are translating your content into different languages.

For example, if you are expanding your website into Portuguese for Brazil you are better off creating URL structure that is than

I need to fix this on still, but when I tested this on 2 other sites that focused on the global market, one saw a 17% increase in international search traffic within 3 months and the other saw a 23% increase in international search traffic within 3 months.

Hack #14: Start with the Link Intersect

Links still matter when it comes to SEO. And it will for a very long time because it is becoming harder to build them.

The easiest way to build them is by using the Link Intersect feature by Ahrefs. What this Ahrefs feature does is it shows you everyone who links to your competitors but not you.

If someone is linking to 3 or 4 of your competitors, this tells you that they don’t mind linking out and there is a good chance you can get them to link to you.

Hack #15: It’s easier to build up a personal brand

From social profiles to blog traffic, people relate more to personal brands than they relate to corporate brands.

If you want more followers on your social profiles and you want to quickly grow your traffic fast, make everything around a personal brand.

But keep in mind, a personal brand is harder to sell and grow into a multi-billion dollar company.

Hack #16: The best way to get podcast listeners is through an exit popup

If you want more listeners for your podcast, the best way is to add an exit popup to your mobile site.

And on your mobile exit popup, ask people to subscribe to your podcast. Don’t use the same exit popup for all mobile devices, you should be sending people who use iPhones to the iTunes Store and people using Android to their version of the iTunes store.

Keep in mind that showing an exit popup on mobile devices is irritating, so wait at least 30 seconds before you show mobile users an exit popup.

Hack #17: LinkedIn prefers video

If you want to get the most attention from LinkedIn, upload videos instead of text-based content. Videos on LinkedIn get 2 to 3 times more engagement than text.

So, if you want more traffic from LinkedIn, upload videos.

And if you want more traffic from any social network, look to see what type of content they are lacking. If you provide them with that type of content, you’ll notice that your traffic will go up.

Hack #18: Journeys and courses convert better than ebooks

Typically, most people offer ebooks in exchange for an email. And although it is more effective to give away an ebook in exchange for an email address than it is to ask people to opt into your newsletter, it still isn’t the best strategy.

If you offer a 30-day course or if you offer a journey, you’ll generate more email subscribers.

A good example of a 30-day course is, “30-Day Free Course: Double Your Traffic in 30 Days.” A good example of a journey is, “Follow My Journey to $100,000, I Am Learning a Lot and So Will You.”

Hack #19: Buying sites is cheaper than buying traffic

If you know certain pay-per-click terms convert extremely well, why not just buy a site that already ranks for all of those terms.

That’s what I did when I recently spent $500,000. I bought a website that already has traffic.

If you buy a site that already has the traffic, keep in mind that the traffic won’t convert as well as paid traffic.

With paid traffic, you are able to control your landing page more, limit the amount of text, and optimize for conversions. Nonetheless, it is still worth buying sites who already have your audience.

Hack #20: Quizzes collect more leads than lead forms

Most people collect leads by asking people to fill out lead forms. It’s not as effective as collecting leads through quizzes.

Here is a good example of this.

When I converted my lead form pages into a quiz, I increased my lead count by 281%.

If you don’t know how to create a lead generation quiz, you can always use tools like Lead Quizzes.

Hack #21: Tools generate more traffic than content marketing

The upfront cost is higher, but the long-term cost is significantly less.

For example, when I created the SEO Analyzer I put in around $25,000 in money and another $1,800 each month for hosting, but it consistently brings in 73,201 visitors a month.

Ubersuggest costs me more, but it brings in 492,394 visitors a month.

In general, tools are easier to maintain and are more affordable in the long run for how many visitors they generate.

Hack #22: Send paid traffic to content first

Marketing is like dating. You can’t expect to send cold traffic to a product or service and expect people to buy a high-ticket item.

You’ll find that paid advertising is much more effective and affordable for selling high ticket items if you send people to an educational piece of content such as a blog post. And then remarketing those visitors and then driving them to your product or service.

In the long run, this is cheaper if you are selling products for above $500 and it is more effective as paid ads to content are cheaper than paid ads to landing pages.

Hack #23: Facebook Info and Ads

Are you struggling to run Facebook Ads that convert and are profitable when you know your competitors are crushing it on Facebook? Well, struggle no more.

Go to your competitor’s fan page and in the left navigation bar click on “info and ads.” This will show you all of the ads that your competition is currently running.

Now when you create Facebook ads, start off by running similar ads to your competition. This will give you the best shot at success.

Hack #24: Respond to comments with a question

As I broke down in hack number 9, Facebook loves comments.

Another simple hack, which works for Facebook and every other social network, is to respond to comments answering their question and of course also asking another question.

This keeps the momentum going and it causes a portion of the people who left a comment to come back and leave another comment.

By doing this on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn, you will find yourself getting more reach for every single thing you share on each of those networks.

I know this hack sounds dumb, but it works really well and no one leverages it.

Hack #25: Don’t forget about the AMP framework

No one talks about Google’s AMP framework, but it is a simple way to get more mobile traffic.

If you are targeting traffic from the United States or even most parts of Europe like the UK or Germany, the AMP framework won’t give you a lift in traffic.

But if you are also targeting international markets where their infrastructure isn’t as great, AMP framework will give you a boost in search traffic.

For example, when I rolled out the AMP pages in Brazil, I got a 28% increase in mobile search traffic.

For markets where their infrastructure isn’t as developed and people rely on mobile devices, enabling the AMP framework will typically give you a 20 to 30% boost in mobile search traffic for those regions.

Hack #26: Webinars are the best way to sell ebooks and courses

If you want to monetize your blog, the best way is usually selling ebooks and courses. But driving people to a sales page to sell an ebook isn’t too effective.

Instead, if you create a webinar and then sell a $497 or $997 ebook/course, it is much more effective.

It’s so effective, in fact, that I am able to get 3.6 sales for every 100 webinar registrations. This video will teach you how to do it step-by-step.

Hack #27: Order bumps don’t hurt conversions, they help increase revenue

On your checkout page, you don’t just want people to buy, you want them to spend more money.

The easiest way to generate more revenue from each customer, without reducing your conversion rate, is order bumps.

As long as you make your order bump a really good deal, it can typically add $5 to $15 to every purchase on average.

If you don’t have an order bump, you should create one right away.

Hack #28: Share your content over and over again

You spend all of this time writing content, but then you spend very little time promoting it.

What most people do is write content and then share it on all of their social profiles. A few people send out email blasts notifying people about their content, which you should also do.

But if you want to double your social traffic, what I do is share the same piece of content 6 times throughout the next 12 months. In other words, retweet that content 6 times. Share the same post on LinkedIn a few times over the next 12 months.

As for Facebook, sharing the same URL over and over again doesn’t work, but the other social networks are fine with this.

This one simple hack has doubled the amount of traffic I get from social sites on a monthly basis. Best of all, no one really complains as the majority of your social connects won’t see the content the first time you post it.


I know some of the hacks I mentioned above seem simple, but they work. And if I had to bet you a dollar, you don’t do most of those “simple” hacks.

No matter what vertical you are marketing in, it’s competitive. You aren’t going to find one hack that’ll drastically increase your traffic. You’ll find that you need to do a lot of little things.

But don’t take them for granted because all of those little things add up to a massive amount of traffic over time.

What other hacks do you leverage to increase traffic and sales?

The post My Secret Playbook: 28 Hacks Guaranteed to Grow Your Traffic and Sales appeared first on Neil Patel.


Facebook Ad Lessons I Learned That Will Help You Run Better Ad Campaigns in 2019

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For the past several years, I’ve taken a moment every December to reflect on what I’d learned about Facebook ads that year. I’ve turned those thoughts into blog posts, in hopes that these lessons help guide YOU in the New Year.

This is the FIFTH edition of this post (scroll below to see my thoughts from previous years), and it’s so interesting to scroll through and see how quickly things change over such a short period of time.

I’m grateful that we work in an industry that changes so quickly and keeps us on our toes… how boring would it be otherwise!? 

This year brought new lessons for me as I branched out on my own and started media buying for clients. I’ve learned A LOT.

I tested a ton of stuff. Some of it worked, some of it didn’t. I was fortunate to work in many different markets, promoting an array of products.

I also really paid attention to how Facebook changed over the course of 2018, especially in reaction to the Cambridge Analytica scandal…

Changes on the Facebook Front

The Cambridge Analytica situation changed Facebook. It created a narrative among the general public that Facebook may not be safe, and in order to gain that trust back, Facebook had to make some changes… changes that provided a safer and better experience for Facebook users.

(RELATED: Perpetual Traffic Episode 144: Why This is Still the Best Time to Be a Facebook Marketer (Plus… Insights from Facebook’s NYC Office))

We, marketers, felt these changes pretty strongly.

Facebook is changing every single day in efforts to provide a healthier and more productive experience for users.

There were small changes, like the removal of some targeting options and custom audience size.

But we also saw large changes. Nothing that was publicly “announced” by Facebook, but changes that most of us as advertisers experienced. Certain strategies that used to work in 2017 quit working. Ad costs also rose for a lot of marketers.

This year, I heard, “I just can’t get Facebook to work!” from all of you at least a few times a week—and I get it.

But, what I’ve learned is that it’s not that Facebook isn’t “working.” It’s that Facebook is changing every single day in efforts to provide a healthier and more productive experience for users.

It’s also what I hope every business is doing… constantly improving their product or service for the betterment of their customers.

And as Facebook evolves, we as marketers must too. So, how do we do that? What should we focus on in 2019? Let me explain…

As marketers, we sometimes forget that Facebook is a social media platform. It’s a mirror. It reflects whatever messages we are putting into the platform.

We control what we post AND the posts we see based on what we engage with.

The platform is literally built to give you more of what you want, and this can be used for good or bad.

Facebook wants you to perpetuate GOODNESS on its platform. It’s that simple. They’re a company rich in values.

As advertisers, if we are perpetuating negativity OR not starting a conversation at all, Facebook isn’t going to spread our message (aka show our ads).

Facebook wants you to perpetuate GOODNESS on it’s platform.

Over the last year, we’ve seen a huge shift in Facebook showing more ads that use positive language, positive imagery, and are helpful to the end user, rather than feeding off of their fears, insecurities, or promising unobtainable end results.

But why did things change so quickly? Simply, Facebook didn’t have to enforce their values as strongly until the aftermaths of the 2016 election and the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

In the spring of 2018, Facebook was receiving heat from the government and general public. Because the media positioned the scandal as a “data leak,” Facebook lost trust from some of its users. The public threatened to abandon the platform. The entire company fell under intense scrutiny.

Facebook had to respond and prove to the public that it was taking action to make sure this never happened again.

Luckily, Facebook already had a method for measuring the experience advertisers were providing consumers through their ads.

Way back in 2015, they released the relevance score. A score from 1–10 that indicates how well an ad relates to the interests and needs of the target audience.

It’s unknown exactly how the relevance score is calculated, but I know it consists of click-through rate, post engagement, negative feedback, positive feedback, conversion rate, and more.

The higher the relevance score, the lower the ad costs. This has been proven again and again. Whenever I’m experiencing high ad costs, it almost always correlates to a relevance score lower than 5.

Relevance score was the first indication that Facebook was optimizing their ad platform for social proof and consumer satisfaction.

It makes sense, too.

The more end users (humans with a free Facebook account) enjoy the posts they see on Facebook, the longer they’re going to spend on the platform, and the more revenue Facebook collects in ad dollars.

Social Proof as a Solution

Social proof is what will save you on Facebook in 2019.

This is the most important takeaway from this article.

Social proof is what matters on Facebook in 2019.

It matters more than ever.

In March of this year, I brought on a client that sells Christian products. Over the summer, I watched ad costs rise in every one of my client accounts (mostly e-commerce), except for this client.


Because they have social support. The message that this company conveys in its ads is not only liked by the market, but it’s also supported, and the market wants to show their support.

Our most engaging ad from this year has 100k shares. The cost per click is only 11 cents. I haven’t seen ad costs like this since 2013.

Each of the last 3 months, I’ve launched a new FB ad campaign for this client. I have 4 ads in each ad set. Two of them are existing ads that have significant social proof (50k+ shares each) and 2 ads are brand new. The 2 existing ads have outperformed the 2 brand-new ads all 3 months!

Social proof is what matters on Facebook in 2019.

So, what does this mean for you??

Your ads need to ignite something in your audience. They should make your audience FEEL something so strongly that they have no choice but to react, comment, or to share your ad.

The days of direct-response ads that list the features and benefits of a product without relating to the audience are over. Facebook doesn’t have to and won’t show boring ads.

Even if you’re selling a product that feels “boring” or that’s hard to create a community around, there is hope. Tell a story. Make people laugh.

I have a client who sells daily planners. At first, I was worried about our ability to generate social proof because it was such a commodity product.

I found some amazing customer stories of how this planner had changed the lives of a few individuals and used their stories and photos as my ad copy and creative. It worked like a charm because other humans on Facebook related to these stories and felt compelled to share theirs in the comments, too.

Tell a story. Make people laugh.

Using motivational ad copy to excite your market generates social proof, too. People respond well to motivation and they’ll want to share the message with their friends.

So when you sit down to write ad copy, think about what this market would respond to. What could you put in front of them that they’d want to share, comment on, or react to? This is the key to Facebook success in 2019.

But there’s more.  Facebook cares about more than just the relevance of your ad. The ad is just the first step.

Following Through on Your Promise

Facebook cares about the ENTIRE consumer experience.

This means everything from clicking on the ad to purchasing and receiving the product.

If someone clicks on a Facebook ad and purchases a t-shirt, but never receives it, that’s a bad look for Facebook, even if they weren’t the one facilitating the purchase.

Facebook cares about the entire customer experience.

They’re putting measures in place to ensure businesses’ aren’t just great advertisers, but that they can also deliver.

This is why Facebook’s starting to take into account the reviews on fan pages into the success of that brand’s ad campaigns.

They’re also starting to ask consumers to rate their shopping experience with brands post-purchase, and using that information to judge the reach and costs of ad campaigns.

It’s obvious that Facebook cares about the entire customer experience. So make sure you’re providing that in 2019 and you’ll be just fine.

It’s important to think about the experience you’re providing AFTER someone clicks on your ad, too. This is important to Facebook. It’s essential to look at things like page-load speed, and the mobile experience you’re providing.

It’s why Facebook Messenger will become even more essential in 2019. Users already understand how to navigate the platform and Facebook likes that you’re keeping people in their ecosystem.

(RELATED: Facebook Messenger Ads: How to Use Them in Your Business)

It’s also why Instant Experiences will be huge in 2019. Formally known as Canvas ads, Instant Experiences are “a mobile ad solution that brings brands and products to life in a full-screen, post-click experience that loads almost instantly from ads in Facebook and Instagram feeds.”

Basically, you can build a simple landing page that summarizes your offer. Consumers don’t have to digest your entire website to make a purchasing decision.

The name of the game is social proof and user experience. And most important of all, remember that humans are on the other side of the keyboard, and you will succeed.

Hopefully, this look back over the last year helps you, and you aren’t worried about the rising ad costs and “difficulty” of Facebook advertising as we go into 2019.

And if you want to read about what I have learned in previous years of working with Facebook ads, just keep reading! It can be really helpful to see the big picture of how paid traffic has changed over the years.

(NOTE: Want the Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy and paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

4 Lessons Learned from Running 1,573 Facebook Ad Campaigns in 4 Years

Here are 4 lessons I learned in 2017 (that I wish I had known long before).

1. Understand That Scaling Paid Traffic Campaigns Involves More Than Just Increasing Your Budget

When most people think about scaling a paid traffic campaign, they imagine increasing the budget and, in return, proportionally receiving the same results.

For example, imagine you were spending $100 a day on a campaign and generating 50 leads for $2 a lead. Most people would expect to increase the budget to $200 a day and in return receive 100 leads for $2 a lead.

Unfortunately, most of the time, that’s not how media buying works. Especially on Facebook.

By increasing the budget, you are asking the platform to show your ad to more people.

Platforms like Facebook and Google have algorithms that factor in…

Your budget
Your targeting
Your desired end result

…and much more.

All to help you get the best results possible (and to create the best experience for the end user).

(RELATED: The Ad Grid: How to Build Traffic Campaigns that Convert Higher and Scale Faster)

Just because you feed the machine more money does not mean that they can guarantee more of the same results.

Especially if you’re targeting a smaller audience.

There may not be many more “qualified” people left for Facebook to show the ad to. People who are most likely to take the action you desire.

Remember that we are advertising to humans, not robots, and that your target audience can be easily and quickly saturated.

Just because you’re willing to invest more money does not mean that there are more people in the audience you’re targeting that are wanting to take your desired action based off of the messaging and selling system you’re using.

Facebook and Google are not money machines that you can predictably put a dollar into get a dollar back at ANY scale of budget.

I call increasing your ad budget vertical scaling.

It’s usually the only type of “scaling” that media buyers use… but I feel it’s the least predictable.

Of course, I still increase the budget of campaigns that are working, but I also scale media by horizontal scaling, which involves showing your ad(s) to more people in your market in different ways. Such as:

Testing new ad copy variations or “hooks
Introducing new offers and selling systems
Scaling out to other people in your target market via new targeting

If you think of your target market like a pond of fish…

…and you’re only using one hook, one selling system, and one way of targeting, then you’re only resonating with a small, small part of your market… like this:

You can scale “horizontally” and achieve greater volume of results by…

Testing New Hooks For Your Ad Copy: Maybe the ad that’s working for you addresses a pain point your market is experiencing. Try new copy variations that speak to feelings, status, or tell a story. These variations will attract different TYPES of people in your market.
Creating New Funnels And Entry Point Offers: At DigitalMarketer, we have different Lead Magnets, from the Facebook Ad Templates to Blog Post Templates. These different offers allow me to scale my customer acquisition efforts because they cover different topics that will resonate with certain parts of our audience. They’re also different “styles” of funnels. For example, a Lead Magnet PDF download versus a video course—these appeal to different types of people based off of how they like to learn. New funnels give you more ammunition for traffic, so you can “gobble up” as much of the market as possible.
Finding New Targeting Options: Whenever I find an audience that’s working, I always try to find more audiences that are most like that one for scale. This could include creating lookalike audiences on Facebook or finding more interests similar to the ones that are working. Scaling horizontally means showing your ad to new people who you aren’t already targeting.

Just to recap, there’s nothing wrong with vertical scaling and increasing your budget to get more results.

But this shouldn’t be the only scaling you do. Focus on horizontal scaling to really see a huge growth in your business next year.

2. Change the Way You Describe and Research Your Target Marke

When asked, most marketers or business owners would describe their audience as….

Women who live in Manhattan
Teens between 16–18
Young professionals making $40,000–$49,999 annually

…and so on.

As humans, we are taught to describe people by generic demographic information… age, gender, income, etc.

As marketers, we have access to WAY too much data to be that generic in 2018.

Instead, describe your avatar based on their INTERESTS and INTENT.

For example…

Interested in canning peaches
Read Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Needs a new car
Wants straight teeth
Attended SXSW
Is the Director of Marketing at a tech company
Fan of David Bowie

Really get into the mind of your avatar. What do they read? What do they buy? Who is this person… way beyond any generic demographic information?

This will allow you to be very specific in your targeting…

To target people who are AVID in your market via what they’re interested in on Facebook.

To target people who are searching Google about a specific problem they’re experiencing that you happen to solve.

It’s also important to think of triggering events that may lead someone to the purchase of your product, especially if you’re selling more of a commodity. Triggering events are things like:

Job change
Birth of child
Major system/utility failure (AC in Summer or CRM for business)

Triggering events create windows of opportunity where your prospect is far more likely to act. Triggering events can help you decide on your targeting within an ad platform.

Let’s say, for example, we were selling suits…

What are triggering events that could lead someone to buy a suit?

Entering the workforce
Young professionals who need a new wardrobe
20–30 somethings who are in “wedding” seasons
Promotion to a new job that requires more business travel

The most important part of targeting your audience on a platform is to really understand them as a person.

Research your market…

Go to events they attend
Read online forums where they’re having conversations
Read Amazon reviews of products in your market

Get into the mind of your consumer and you will never have trouble with targeting again.

3. Put More Thought into Your Creatives

I believe that now, and especially as we go into 2018, the look and feel of the images or videos you use in your advertising are more important than ever.

Your ad creative should act in 2 ways…

As a visual representation of your hook, whatever message you’re wanting to portray to the end user
A trust-building mechanism with your brand

Consumers expect things on the internet to look high end in 2018.

Invest in graphics and videos that look as good as you know your brand and product are. But, also make sure you’re putting thought into your creatives and that you aren’t using irrelevant images like cats or women to catch someone’s attention.

The goal of your ad is more than to catch someone’s attention. It’s to catch the right person’s attention, portray a message to them, and then, if it’s relevant to the end user, they will take action.

Here are great examples of ads who’s creative really reflect the message:

What message are you trying to get across in your ad? How can you create a visual representation of that message?

It’s more important than ever!

(RELATED: [DOWNLOAD] Use This 6-Point Facebook Ad Design Checklist Before Launching Your Next Campaign (…and draw inspiration from 20 critiqued ads!))

4. Realize That Nothing Ever Really Changes but the Medium

The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past 4 years is that nothing really ever changes about marketing except the medium.

Quit chasing shiny objects!

Study and practice to become a darn good marketer. You will transcend the passing of time.

I love this quote from Roy H. Williams on this subject…

“Five minutes in an old book quickly reveals that most of what is being sold today as new insights into human behavior is merely the rediscovery of knowledge we have had for centuries.”

We are standing on the shoulders of giants who have been marketing to humans for hundreds of years… we just have new technology and mediums to deliver our marketing through.

On the same hand, you must keep up with the new mediums.

What will be the “next big traffic source?”

Wherever the most people are aggregated. If a platform has a ton of users and has a way to collect data on said users, it becomes a gold mine for marketers.

That’s why Facebook messenger marketing is the future of advertising.

(RELATED: Facebook Messenger Ads: How to Use Them in Your Business)

With over 2+ billion active monthly users and a ton of data from the Facebook platform, Messenger will become an even more important traffic and acquisition source for brands.

But, never forget, we are always selling to humans.

Craft an appealing offer, articulate the benefits (in different ways, to appeal to different types of humans), put those messages in front of the right people, and you will win in 2018!

(NOTE: Want the Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy and paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

Don’t stop there!
Read Our 7 Lessons Learned from Running 440 Facebook Ad Campaigns in 2016
1. Link Ad to Lead Magnet #1

As you can see from last year’s list of best-performing campaigns (specifically #8 & #9 below), campaigns to Lead Magnets work really, really well for us.

They’re the bread and butter of our business. They’re the way we build our email list. They’re the way we acquire customers.

Website conversion campaigns that optimize for lead generation accounted for 50% of our media spend in 2016.

We’ve found that in one year’s time, we really only need two great Lead Magnet campaigns to grow the business at a rapid rate.

In May of this year, we spent a ton of time creating brand new campaigns for our Facebook Ad Template Lead Magnet using the Ad Grid strategy.

After running a ton of tests, this was the winner.

This ad works for many reasons. As we teach in the Ad Grid, the image really portrays the marketing message.

Not only does the image stand out in the newsfeed, it’s also RELEVANT. We’re really playing off of the word “library” and the design elements help the prospect conceptualize the meaning of the ad quickly.

The copy makes the resource feel like something you can’t pass up. Anyone interested in traffic loves swipe files and seeing what’s worked for others (that’s why you’re reading this post), so that’s why we lead with the line about compiling our highest performing ads.

By saying that these ads have generated 400,000 leads and millions in revenue, we’re really layering on the proof and authority.

The call-to-action (CTA) is subtle yet enticing. Instead of telling prospects to “click here,” we’re using language that helps them visualize themselves actually using the resource by encouraging them to “scroll through” the library and “get inspiration for your very own ads.”

This campaign alone produced 83,285 leads at $3.26 a piece. 

2. Link ad to Lead Magnet #2

As I said above, website conversion campaigns that optimize for lead generation accounted for 50% of our media spend in 2016.

Our second best lead generation campaign promoted our Customer Avatar Worksheet using the Ad Grid strategy.

After running a ton of tests, this was the winner.

This ad resembles the iconic Brady Bunch image. Anytime you can replicate something that’s worked in pop culture (without violating copyright) absolutely do so. No need to start from scratch.

(We also tried a version of the Guess Who? game but it didn’t convert as well):

The Brady Bunch-like campaign worked for a multitude of reasons. First off, the ad image is very eye catching and again portrays the marketing message. We used different people in the image to play on the word “customer.”

The first line of copy is educational—which is working better and better now that Facebook’s relevance score is so important to the platform. This line of copy also highlights the importance of defining your customer avatar, which makes downloading this Lead Magnet feel even more essential.

Like the last ad, the CTA is subtle (not using “click here”) yet powerful for the user. They imagine themselves actually using the worksheet to gain clarity on who they’re marketing to.

This campaign alone produced 33,062 leads in the last 3 months. 

3. Lead Ad for Sales Team

In 2016, we had a lot of success with lead ads.

In 2015 (right after lead ads were released), I wrote a blog post about lead ads and how they weren’t performing as well as website conversion campaigns. 

I did note that lead ads would be effective if used in certain situations.

The issue with lead ads is that once a user submits their information, they’re not forced to visit your site. So, if you’re running a traditional acquisition funnel, you would have trouble generating those immediate sales needed to offset traffic costs.

But, if you’re in a situation where you JUST need someone’s contact information—lead ads are awesome.

In 2016, we built our very first sales team here at DigitalMarketer. This meant that we needed to alter our traffic strategy a bit.

Instead of needing to make all of our sales online, a chunk of our sales started happening via 1v1 conversations on the phone, email, Facebook Messenger, etc.

Lead ads allowed us to generate high-quality leads for our sales team.

This particular campaign is called “The Modern Marketing Growth Plan.” Prospects see this ad in their newsfeed:

Upon clicking, the form appears (pre-populated!):

As soon as someone submits their information, the sales team is notified and this person is contacted. If they’re qualified (have a big enough team) the prospect is asked to schedule a time for a consultative call to help structure their marketing team.

If they aren’t qualified, they are sent to a web page to download the plan and then have the opportunity to purchase HQ online.

Lead ads have been very effective for driving leads to our sales team. If you have a need to acquire contact information with no expectation of purchase on the following page, definitely give these a shot.

4. Link Ad to 6-Week Class

One of our best campaigns of 2016 involved getting people to sign up for our free, 6-week class called Double Your Sales.

We ran traffic to this offer in 2015 with a lot of success. But, in 2016, we made a simple tweak to the copy that decreased our lead cost by 30%.

Here’s the ad we ran in 2015:

And here’s the ad we ran in 2016:

The ads are almost identical with only a few tweaks to the copy.

Can you see what is different?

The second ad (the high performer) spoke directly to the prospect. It CHALLENGED them to double their business in 6 weeks… it even asked them if they were UP for it!

The first ad was all about US! It’s okay to use “we” or “I” in ads, especially when establishing credibility, but if you can find a way to make your ads about the prospect, and especially if you can find a way to challenge or get them excited, you will see higher conversion rates.

If you want to learn how we structured this campaign, read this post.

We were able to decrease lead cost in this campaign by 30% in 2016 vs. 2015. 

5. Retargeting (Scarcity) Ads for an Event

So, this was a pretty fun campaign to create and execute.

The purpose of this campaign was to retarget people who had visited the Traffic & Conversion Summit website but who hadn’t purchased a ticket.

There are a few price points for the event and the price increases as time passes.

About 3 weeks before the price was increased from $995 to $1495 we started running this ad:

A week before the price increased we switched to this ad and ramped up the budget:

This worked really, really, really well!!

I believe there are a few reasons for this.

First off, scarcity is always your friend as a marketer. Psychologically, people will buy things because they realize in the future they may no longer be available.

With a live event, you have real scarcity. There are only so many seats to sell and the price will increase by $500 on a certain date. If you don’t buy before that date, you will pay more later. Plain and simple.

I also believe this worked because it plays off of “fear” that everyone with an iPhone already has. Especially if you have an emotional attachment to technology, the red battery icon on your phone can literally initiate fearful emotions.

Now, I’m not saying we were trying to ruin anyone’s day—but, again aligning your hook/image with something that people are familiar with in a culture works well. They already know what the image means. You don’t have to explain it.

If you want to learn more about using paid traffic to sell tickets to events, read this post.

This campaign had a 240% ROI. 

6. Facebook Messenger Campaign

Facebook released Messenger ads in 2016. In short, we’re really excited about this.

“Messenger” is now a destination for Facebook ads. So, instead of sending traffic to your website, you can tell Facebook that you actually want your ad to open in a Facebook message.

This allows you to have 1v1 conversations with prospects and customers.

Then, once someone has messaged your page, Facebook and other tools (like allow you to send broadcast messages to the list of people who have messaged your page.

We are seeing open rates as high as 90% for those broadcasts. It’s nuts.

The goal of our first Facebook messenger campaign was to generate conversations for our sales team (with the hope that the conversations would lead to sales).

We targeted our email subscribers and asked if they had questions about our product and how we could help them:

2 members of our sales team were there to field questions and help people decide which DigitalMarketer product would be best for their business.

We were able to generate 300 conversations for only $800. We saw a 500% ROI on our first messenger campaign.

This worked well because the questions posed in the ad were relevant to the audience.

Since these people are on our email list, they know who we are. They probably even know what we sell. Asking if they had questions about how we could double their business or if they had questions about our products just makes sense.

If we ran this same ad to cold traffic it may not have done so well.


If you’ve never heard of DigitalMarketer, you wouldn’t know what products we sell, or it’s possible that you don’t own or have the immediate need of doubling a business.

The key to Messenger moving forward is to use it to pull levers that will make the biggest difference in your business, especially if you don’t have a lot of human capital to actually man the chat.

Retarget people who visited an order for but didn’t buy. Retarget your best people to see if you can move them further down your Customer Journey. Use this opportunity to try and overcome any barriers to the sale.

This is a HUGE win for 2016, and we’re currently running a ton of Messenger tests that we will share with you guys later.

7. Blog Post to Cold Traffic

Last, but not least, I wanted to share our best Facebook campaign to cold traffic. The purpose of this campaign was to get people who had never heard of us before to consume our content.

This allows us to build credibility, pixel visitors (so that we can retarget them later), and to give value first.

This post was one of the top 6 most visited on our blog for 2016…

We ran this campaign to digital marketing professionals. People who work or want to work for others in the field of marketing.

One reason this ad worked so well is because of the copy. The opening line really grabs this audience’s attention with, “want the secret to future-proofing your career?”

What professional doesn’t!?

The copy leads the reader to realize how important marketing skills are to the career of your dreams.

(NOTE: Want the Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy and paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

But don’t stop there!
Check Out the 7 Lessons We Learned in 2015…
1. Newsfeed Ad to a Lead Magnet #1

Ah, The Ultimate Social Media Swipe File… our highest performing Lead Magnet of all time. It also happens to be the first Lead Magnet we ever ran to cold media here at DigitalMarketer.

You’ll notice that The Ultimate Social Media Swipe File made it onto this list last year (#9 below) which is a testament to having a good offer. Once you create a solid Lead Magnet, it can benefit you for (literally) many years to come.

The Ultimate Social Media Swipe File campaign from 2014 finally tired out.

This was the 2014 version of this ad…

But, we knew this offer still had life.

In July of 2015, we created completely new ad campaigns for the offer.

Here is the highest performing ad from those campaigns…

You’ll notice we refreshed the copy and images.

We wanted to scale this offer to an even broader market than before, so we went with the newspaper theme because someone outside of “online marketing” would still understand a “headline” in reference to a newspaper.

We tested these images with color variations and the black and white outperformed all the rest.

The copy works for a few reasons…

We lead with a CTA to “copy and paste.” Using the words copy and paste also express the ease of using these headlines
“72” creates specificity and shows the abundance of headlines they’ll receive
“Get more clicks” speaks to the end result of using the headlines
“Facebook, Twitter, and your own blog” helps to explain the application of the headlines so that the end user doesn’t have to even wonder WHERE they would use these headlines

In 2014, The Ultimate Social Swipe Campaign produced 33,000+ leads for the business. At that time, it was our highest performing advertising campaign to date.

In 2015, our new ad campaigns for this offer (went live July 21st, 2015) has generated 72,033 leads in 2015 alone. (That’s more than double last year)!

2. Newsfeed Ad to Lead Magnet #2

The second ad on our list for 2015 is for our 60 Second Blog Plan Lead Magnet.

This Lead Magnet appeals to bloggers and content marketers.

Notice the ENGAGEMENT on this ad! When you have high positive engagement on an ad (likes, shares, comments) it helps increase your Facebook relevance score. When your relevance score is high, you pay less and your ad is more likely to be shown to your target audience.

Why was this ad successful?

We really, really thought about our target market here.

The ad image looks like the WordPress admin panel, which would immediately appeal to most content marketers. This is what we used to catch their eye. We also tied the “60-second” aspect of the offer into the image with the clock.

A major pain point for content marketers is having the TIME to create all of the content needed. We really played on that “hook” with this ad.

In terms of the copy, this worked because we used language like…

“YOU can create a Blog Content Plan.”
“60 seconds or less by filling in these 5 simple blanks” was used to highlight the speed and simplicity.
“YES, IT’S REALLY THAT SIMPLE” was added to help overcome any objections and add some brand voice to the piece.

This ad campaign produced 68,830 leads for DigitalMarketer in 2015.

3. Retargeting with a Video Ad

Facebook added video ads to their platform in 2015… and what a blessing they’ve been.

There’s so much more that can be said in a video ad than in an image, and if used correctly video ads can not only work to cold traffic but also for retargeting.

The beauty of Facebook videos ads is that you can now create website custom audiences of people who watch the video and retarget them with other ad campaigns (perfect for cold traffic).

You can also use video ads to retarget people who have visited your site or visited certain pages on your site.

That’s exactly what we did with the ad above.

We hold an annual event called Traffic & Conversion Summit. The above ad was used to retarget people who had visited the sales page to buy tickets but didn’t actually buy.

Ryan Deiss (our Co-Founder and CEO) shot a quick video that said something like this…

“Hey there (arms waving), before you go, if you’re watching me right now it’s because you’ve heard of Traffic & Conversion Summit — XX discount is about to end, if this video is here then the offer is still active, BUT — you have to get it now!”

There was incredible ad scent here because the sales page for the event features a video of Ryan.

So, we thought that seeing a retargeting ad with Ryan speaking to them again would definitely make them stop in their newsfeed.

We were right.

This campaign had a 3,858% ROI!

The best part? It only took 20 minutes to shoot the video, upload it, and set up this retargeting ad.

This was VERY low hanging fruit… retargeting is simple to set up and you’re leaving a lot of money on the table if you aren’t following up with your prospects and customers.

4. Newsfeed Ad to Blog Content

This ad was to cold traffic (people who were not connected to DigitalMarketer in any way).

We sent traffic to a blog post first to introduce ourselves to the audience, give value first, and to “pixel” people who clicked so we could retarget them with a relevant offer.

The copy for this ad is lengthy… which we recommend for any ads you’re using to send traffic to content.

It shows the end user that you’re going to provide value. Because they’ve never heard of you before, you need to really explain yourself and give them a reason to click.

You’re investing money INTO the relationship bank with your prospects by giving them value first BEFORE asking them to give you their contact information or buy something.

Revealing the formula in the ad copy creates curiosity to get people to click.

We use the verbage “Your business” to qualify the audience. We want people who own businesses to click.

The promise of the ad is incredible… we will teach you 4 ways to double your sales. This ad shows that a good promise/offer can even outweigh a mediocre message or image.

This ad generated 50,000 clicks to the blog post in order to prime the pump for this next ad…

5. Retargeting with a Newsfeed Ad to a Mini-Class

This ad campaign was used to generate leads for Double Your Sales, a free training course we released this year in partnership with Infusionsoft.

Double Your Sales isn’t your typical “Lead Magnet.” It’s a 6-week mini-class that takes dedication and time… it is not easily consumable.

That’s why this ad looks a bit different than our normal “Lead Magnet” ad.

Notice how long the copy is. We tested 3 variations of copy for this ad campaign (one was very short) and the long copy outperformed the others every time.

Why? Because this course is more of a commitment, we really have to sell someone with the ad copy.

We not only use the promise of teaching them 6 ways to double their business, we also give specifics as to what they’ll learn each week.

The image is super engaging and plays off of the message of there being 6 ways to double your business… and the finger pressing the button makes you want to ACT and actually click the ad.

This ad campaign has produced over 20,000 leads for DigitalMarketer in 2015.

6.  Carousel Ad to Blog Content

Ah, carousel ads! Another new ad type that Facebook rolled out in 2015.

When scrolling through the newsfeed, you actually see the first image with an arrow pointing to the right that you can click on to scroll through the ad.

Carousel ads are awesome. Not only do they stand out in the newsfeed, they’re great for a couple reasons…

You can use each square to talk about a different benefit of a specific offer (all of them clicking over to the same page)
You could also use them to highlight different testimonials for your business or product and retarget people who visited your sales page but didn’t buy

In this case, we used the ad carousel ad type to promote 4 different blog posts (each square goes to a different URL).

This is the first panel…

… and this is the second panel that someone sees if they click the arrow to move the carousel…

… and the third…

… the fourth…

… and the fifth…

We ran this ad to cold traffic and allowed people to select which topic they were most interested in.

The best part of this is that because of retargeting, we were able to follow up with these people with offers that were most specific to the blog post they clicked over to.

If they clicked on the blog post about Facebook ads… we retargeted them with an ad for our Lead Magnet about Facebook ads. If they clicked on the blog post about email marketing, we retargeted them with an ad for our Lead Magnet about… you guessed it… email marketing.

This ad sent 15,000+ clicks to various blog posts.

7. Newsfeed Ad to Perpetual Product Launch

This ad sends traffic to a perpetual launch for our email marketing product called The Machine.

Last year, our ad for this product targeted people who already knew the benefit of an email list or those who had an email list.

We wanted to broaden the marketing message to take this product to a different audience. So, we developed a new campaign.

The message of the 2015 campaign boils down to…

 “the average adult receives 147 emails a day”

…and called out to business owners by asking them how they were going to stand out in the inbox.

Here’s the ad…

This new messaging was all about broadening the marketing message and it WORKED. We also use a quote (that reads like a story) in the newsfeed description that stops dead in the middle and creates curiosity.

“We can help” makes them feel like they are apart of something bigger.

The ad image appeals to most people because everyone knows what that blue email icon means and sees it daily… and having almost 5k emails in your box would stress most people out. The image is eye-catching and speaks to a pain point.

This campaign has put more than 20,000 people into a perpetual launch for our product, The Machine, and is consistently running at 80%+ ROI positive.

(NOTE: Want the Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy and paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

But don’t stop there!
Check Out the 7 Facebook Ad Lessons We Learned in 2014…
1. Newsfeed Ad to Lead Magnet #1

This ad is for our 212 Blog Post Ideas Lead Magnet.

This is 1 of our all-time best ads. It’s generated over 30,000 leads for under $2.06 a piece.

(Want to learn our optimization strategy for generating those 30,000 leads? Click here.)

Why does it work?

The Image: The image features a person (and although this is Ryan Deiss, we ran the ad to a TON of audiences who have no idea who he is).

The person is looking at you. That’s eye-catching. Any ad where a person is applicable, we suggest using them in your image. Either make sure the person is looking forward or looking towards a part of the image you want them to pay attention to.

Also, the chalk on the chalkboard is unique—we found the chalkboard on Dreamstime and photoshopped the “212 Blog Post Ideas” on there.

The Copy: “Writer’s block? Boost your content with these 212 blog post ideas, applicable to any niche.”

This ad is speaking to people who blog. With the copy, we wanted to speak to a pain point—writer’s block.

We then gave them a benefit for clicking with the “Boost your content with these 212 blog post ideas.”

Lastly, we overcame the objection that these ideas may not work for them by adding “applicable to any niche.”

2. Newsfeed Ad to Lead Magnet #2

This ad is for our Social Media Headline Swipe file. It’s the biggest ad campaign we’ve ever run on Facebook. It’s a similar ad and funnel (designed to put people into our DM Lab continuity program) to the 212 Blog Post Ideas that I covered above.

This ad has generated over 33,000 leads for an average of $1.70 a piece.

Why does it work?

The Image: This image is distinctive. From the mouse patterns in the background to the contrasting colors, it makes you want to look. It also makes you want to look without being overly obnoxious.

That’s what’s important about this image. Gone are the days of running ads with obnoxiously loud colors and arrows just for the sake of grabbing someone’s attention.

That screams, “I’m going to ask you for money if you click here!” Not that standing out isn’t still important, but—make sure your ad makes sense from a design standpoint. You can hire someone on Fiverr or oDesk or create an ad using Canva.

The Copy: “Want more clicks from your Social Media posts? Download our 72 headline swipe file.”

This ad is speaking to people who are social media managers or are interested in social media. With the copy, we wanted to speak to a pain point—no one is clicking on my posts!

We then gave them a solution… “Download our 72 headline swipe file.”

If I were to optimize this further, I would have added “applicable to any niche” as you saw in the 212 blog post ideas.

“Steal Our Swipe File” was important copy to have on the image. Telling someone to steal from you is certainly an interruption as they scroll down their newsfeed.

3. Newsfeed Ad to High-Ticket Product Lead Generation

This ad generated leads for a launch of our product called The Machine. We were giving away our email marketing game plan in exchange for email addresses.

This ad generated 7,422 conversions at $1.54 per lead.

Why does it work?

The Image: After looking at demographics for the audience of website visitors that had already hit this product’s website, I noticed that over 90% of visitors were male.

It was also late summer/early fall and football season was starting. In order to tie in with the “game plan” aspect of the offer, we went with a football field.

Tying in a theme that would relate to your target audience is a great way to relate.

The image’s color (yet still not obnoxious, see my comments on the previous ad) and the football field/formation makes you STOP, it also ties perfectly with the offer being a “game plan.”

We wanted to make sure email marketing was still tied into the theme of the image, and that’s why the “Email Marketing Game Plan” copy is on the field along with the red envelope.

The Copy: “Do you have a game plan for your Email Marketing? Don’t hit the field without one…”

This ad ran to people who were interested in email marketers, mostly males. Again, as most of our successful ads do, the copy began with a question.

This copy appeals to someone’s urge to have a plan and to be prepared.

Also, even if you do have a plan for your email marketing, you can always improve upon it…

4. Newsfeed Ad to Lead Magnet #3

This ad is part of a bigger campaign for our Gain, Logic, Fear email template campaign. We’re giving away a 3-part email series that users can copy and paste into their email service provider in exchange for their email address.

This ad has generated 4,441 leads for $1.90 a piece.

Why does it work?

The Image: What makes this ad so successful is the strategy behind it, not necessarily the image.

This image goes against the statement I made in ad #2 that people are catching on to the obnoxious colors and arrows that scream “BUY SOMETHING FROM ME”! If I were to do this over, I’d still use the text/word document screenshot but have a designer make it look more professional.

(2015 Update: As you can see in our most recent ads, we have moved WAY beyond this type of image in our ads, but this strategy still works. Just be careful that you aren’t calling out to the audience about something that is against Facebook’s ad policy such as identifying the person by name or mentioning a disease they might have. )

It shows them EXACTLY what they’re going to get and how easy it really will be to just copy and paste these templates.

But like I said, the strategy was the most important part of this campaign…

The Copy: This campaign had multiple ad sets that targeted different email service providers via interest targeting… MailChimp, Aweber, ConstantContact, Infusionsoft, Getresponse, etc.

Each ad set had different ad copy. This example shows the ad copy for GetResponse.

“Use GetResponse? Copy and paste this FREE email series into your account today.”

Replace “Use________?” with the email service provider I was targeting in each ad set and that was the copy for each of these ads…

The copy was VERY targeted and specific.

The “Copy & paste this FREE email series into your account today.” made people think:

The email series was specific to their service provider so why wouldn’t they use it
The email series is FREE, you’re not going to be asked to buy something on the landing page
This is something I can USE today… I don’t have to wait to implement or learn something and then do it. I can simply copy and paste…

Think of a way you could apply this tactic to your ads. How can I take this 1 Lead Magnet or offer and slightly alter the targeting and copy to become even more specific?

5. Retargeting Ad to a High-Dollar Product

If you’re ever selling something that is timely, that won’t always be available, you HAVE to run an ad like the 1 above.

We ran this ad to everyone who had hit The Machine website or opted in during the pre-launch of that product.

Once we were about to close registration for the class, we ran this ad for 72 hours. Boy, do people jump for things that they think are going to be gone soon…

We spent $3,196.15 on this ad and saw $211,682 in return.

That’s the most profitable 3-day ad we’ve ever run.

There isn’t much to discuss in terms of image or copy for this ad other than the ad maintained the same design/feel that we had used to introduce them to The Machine (the football field ad for example). Also, the ad was eye-catching (of course) and would have stopped them in their tracks while scrolling through Facebook.

The most important take away from this ad is the scarcity.

“The Machine is Closing! Don’t miss out…” and “We’re Closing it Down.”

6. Retargeting Ad to a Low-Dollar Product

Look familiar? This is a retargeting ad for the funnel I introduced in ad #1 above.

This ad runs to people who opt in for the 212 Blog Post Ideas Lead Magnet but don’t take us up on our $7 Tripwire offer for our 1,000 Blog Subscribers execution plan.

Why does it work?

The Image: You’ll notice that the ads are VERY SIMILAR. You want to catch their attention by showing them something that they’re familiar with, but create a bit of variation so they don’t think it’s the same ad.

You’ll also notice that second ad says “1,000 Blog Subscribers”—this is because the Tripwire teaches you how to get your first 1,000 blog subscribers.

The Copy: The most important thing to keep in mind is the copy. We use “Did life get in the way? You forgot to take advantage of this deal?.”

This is the SAME COPY we use for EVERY retargeting ad. It saves you from writing a ton of copy and it is always applicable.

It also assumes that they didn’t say “NO” the first time and there is an important psychological principle at play here.

The words “Did life get in the way?” and “You forgot…” give the prospect a reason to reconsider the offer. Because if they said “NO” to the offer—you’re asking the prospect to admit they were wrong the first time—and that isn’t easy. With this ad, we assume they didn’t have their credit card last time, their children distracted them, they went to dinner and forgot, etc.

Here’s another example of a retargeting ad, this one retargets people who opted in for the Social Swipe File (ad #2 in this blog post) but didn’t purchase the Tripwire from that funnel:

To learn more about how we dynamically retarget throughout our funnels using Facebook Website Custom Audiences, click here.

7. Facebook Offer Ad to High-Ticket Event

This is a Facebook offer. Facebook offers are a certain kind of ad for discounts, flash sales, etc. They appear differently in the news feed with a “Get Offer” Button in the bottom right-hand corner of the ad.

When they click the process is different, too. There’s a pop up that thanks them for claiming the offer, and then they’re given the link to claim the offer and it’s ALSO emailed to them!

The link that we use for the offer is always to a landing page.

For example, the ad above was 82% off tickets to T&C.

Why does it work?

Facebook offers are shared a ton and receive awesome organic reach because people want to share deals with their friends. Also, the email touch point is BIG.

The Image: This image shows a highly engaged conference. It catches people’s attention and shows them that Traffic & Conversion Summit isn’t a bore-fest.

The Copy: The copy displays the benefit… 82% off the event and also establishes credibility by says that Traffic & Conversion was recommended by Forbes, a credible source.

When used appropriately, offers are powerful Facebook advertisements.

Remember, advertising is all about placing the right message in front of the right audience.

(NOTE: Want the Ultimate Facebook Ad Template Library? Copy and paste these 7 proven Facebook ad campaigns to create low-cost, high-converting ads on demand. Get them here.)

The post Facebook Ad Lessons I Learned That Will Help You Run Better Ad Campaigns in 2019 appeared first on DigitalMarketer.


Google Analytics 360: The Features Worth $150k a Year

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For many, Google Analytics 360 is a black box. Marketing and sales collateral from Google is spartan, and common refrains about key features—like unsampled data—seem unworthy of a six-figure bill for most sites.

That disconnect exists because many, myself included, have understood Google Analytics 360 primarily as an expansion of the data caps we encounter with the free version. As it turns out, those caps represent a fraction of overall value—like differentiating a presidential suite from a standard room based on square footage.

Charles Farina of Analytics Pros, who has used Google Analytics 360 for years, gave me an hour-long walkthrough of the platform to highlight the most meaningful differences: those that drive ROI.

Google Analytics 360 overview

Google Analytics 360 (GA360) is one of seven components of the Google Marketing Platform. With paid access to GA360—$150,000 per year, billed monthly at $12,500 with an annual contract—users also get access to 360 versions of other products:

The announcement of the Google Marketing Platform, in June 2018, combined paid ad platforms and the Google Analytics 360 Suite. (Image source)

The GA360 license is all-inclusive: There are no tiers or additional features to unlock. (Users get credits toward BigQuery; extensive querying of GA data in BigQuery could generate added costs.)

Some differences in functionality between 360 versions and their free counterparts are limited. Tag Manager 360, for example, touts “enterprise level support” as the primary benefit.

This post focuses on Analytics 360 and the integrations with other platform products that occur within the Google Analytics UI.

Google Analytics 360 vs Google Analytics

Dry lists of feature comparisons are available in other posts, like this one from Blast Analytics or this one from Google. I won’t replicate those resources here, but a few oft-cited, quantitative differences are worth mentioning:

Sampling. The free version of GA begins sampling data for non-default reports that exceed 500,000 sessions. GA360 doesn’t begin sampling data until reports exceed 100 million sessions. The free version also stops recording data at 10 million hits per month compared to 2 billion for GA360.
Time lag. GA360 pushes all data into its reporting interface within four hours and often does so in a matter of minutes. That near-real-time data entry is faster than the free version, which usually takes a full day to process data.
Export size. GA360 allows 3 million rows; the free version offers 50,000.
Custom dimensions and metrics. GA360 offers 200 of each compared to the free version, which provides 20.

And yet, most businesses are not another custom dimension (or 50) away from actionable data; few make different decisions because their data is based on 87% of all sessions. (As Farina noted, “if you have 50% sampling, it’s still very likely that the data is directional.”)

Other well-known differences focus less on raw numbers and more on enterprise business needs:

Roll-up reporting. GA360 allows users to roll up reporting from multiple properties efficiently with capabilities not available in the free version—deduplicating users, stitching sessions, inheriting custom dimensions and metrics, etc.
Data-driven attribution modeling. GA360 moves beyond the standard attribution models available in the free version and—using machine learning—creates custom attribution models with data from GA and connected accounts, including TV ad buys.

A report showing weighted attribution in Attribution 360, which allows users to create custom attribution models for GA data.

Each of the above features enables the collection of more data, improves the quality of data, or increases the accuracy of calculations from it. Still, those differences only hint at the bottom-line benefits of GA360, which center on:

Connections between Google Analytics data and personally identifiable information.
Integrations with a wider range of ad networks.
Granular, actionable data visualizations.

Farina walked me through each.

The Google Analytics 360 benefits that generate ROI
1. Connections between Google Analytics data and personally identifiable information

In a previous agency job, I’d seen clients switch from Google Analytics to Adobe Analytics for one reason—to connect anonymous analytics data to specific users. Google Analytics has unambiguous warnings about collecting personally identifiable information (PII), which chases some to Adobe:

(Image source)

A platform change for that reason, it turns out, is unwarranted—if you take your GA data to the international waters of BigQuery.


BigQuery, part of the Google Cloud Platform, is a fully managed data warehouse. Integrating GA data with BigQuery is possible only with GA360. BigQuery starts with 13 months of historical GA data, collecting new data indefinitely moving forward.

“At the end of the day,” Farina explained, “if you can get data into BigQuery and you have a question you can write to that data, BigQuery will go out and answer that question without you having to worry about storage or compute or memory.”

BigQuery bridges the gap between anonymous GA IDs and CRM data.

It is possible to export data from the free version of GA into another platform, but the process is incomplete and doesn’t scale: It relies on the GA API—a source of report data but not raw data—or a plugin, like the one for Google Sheets.

Because it has different Terms of Service, BigQuery can join GA data with PII—from your CRM or anything else you choose to connect. Once data is in BigQuery, SQL scripts return a user-by-user table with the requested data:

BigQuery can join data in GA to a CRM via, for example, a hidden field in a contact form that passes the anonymous GA ID into a field tied to an individual ID in a CRM.

As Farina detailed, some companies use BigQuery as their primary data warehouse; others treat BigQuery as a way station before passing data on (via export) to a preferred cloud storage system.

(BigQuery is HIPPA compliant, making it a viable repository for medical data or, consequently, any other type of personal data.)

GA360 and Salesforce integration

In 2017, Google announced a partnership with Salesforce; the two companies deepened that partnership in 2018. (Salesforce is now a reseller of GA360.) The collaboration yielded several integrations. Those with access to both products can:

Move Salesforce data from Sales Cloud into GA360 for attribution reports, bid optimization, and audience creation.
Push GA360 data into the Salesforce Marketing Cloud reporting UI.
Connect GA360 audiences to Salesforce Marketing Cloud for inclusion in Salesforce campaigns (e.g. email, SMS).
Create audience lists from customer interactions in the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Import Salesforce Sales Cloud user attributes, Einstein Lead Scoring, and ecommerce metrics into GA360.

Those integrations enable the creation of funnels like the one below, which draws on data from both platforms:

The Salesforce integration lets users create funnels with GA and Salesforce data. (Image source)

In another use case Farina suggested, companies could customize email content based on browsing behavior. If you manage a daily digest for The Seattle Times, for example, you could include more sports stories for sports junkies and more political headlines for partisans.

I asked Farina if the Salesforce integration was likely the first of many GA–CRM connections. But the Google–Salesforce partnership, Farina speculated, is unique: “Google doesn’t have a strong martech—no email tool, CRM, CMS; Salesforce doesn’t have enterprise analytics.”

The decision to integrate Salesforce with GA360, he continued, arose from the ongoing consolidation of martech stacks by Adobe: Adobe purchased Marketo in 2018, pressuring Google and Salesforce to offer a competitive alternative.

2. Integrations with a wider range of ad networks

Ad spend, rather than total traffic, may be the easiest way to justify a GA360 investment. If you’re currently spending $100,000 per month in Google Ads, Farina postulated, how much more efficient could you be with GA360? A 10% increase in efficiency would nearly cover the cost of GA360.

Not surprisingly, Google has case studies detailing strong improvements:

Panasonic used GA360 to increase the return on advertising spend (ROAS) by 30%.
Moncler’s GA360 investment delivered a 35% improvement to their ROAS.

The free version of Google Analytics already includes robust (yet underused) integrations with Google Ads. As Farina highlighted, you can build segments based on a combination of conditions, then export that audience to Google Ads for remarketing.

GA360 extends the capabilities available for Google Ads to other platforms and networks, like Campaign Manager, as well as non-Google networks, like Index Exchange, in Display & Video 360.

Display & Video 360
Display & Video 360 extends GA functionality for Google Ads to more ad networks.

Display & Video 360 pulls click- and view-through data from display and video ads into Google Analytics. The ability to include display view-throughs in Multi-Channel Funnels strengthens attribution models. In the example below, the eye icon represents display impressions:

View-through data sheds light on potential catalysts for conversions from direct or organic sessions. Adding a secondary dimension, like Campaign, identifies instances when display impressions for a particular campaign were not the first brand interaction (and, therefore, deserve less credit in any attribution model):

Because the data exists in BigQuery as well, audiences transition fluidly between anonymous Google Analytics users and known leads or customers in a CRM.

Thus, the value of GA360 is not merely getting more granular data on ad impressions but attaching that data to real users for smarter retargeting or tailored email campaigns.

3. Granular, actionable data visualizations

Two high-value data visualizations are unique to GA360: Custom Funnels and Advanced Analysis.

Custom Funnels

Building a useful funnel in the free version of Google Analytics, Farina conceded, is nearly impossible. In GA360, it’s simple—agonizingly so for those who have labored through funnel creation or analysis in the standard version.

Farina demonstrated how GA360 translates any combination of variables into a funnel in seconds:

Custom Funnels are easy to create and simple to export as an audience or segment.

Like other GA360 features, the primary benefit of Custom Funnels is not only visualizing user behavior but translating that visualization into action through export to a marketing automation platform.

Advanced Analysis

Advanced Analysis, still in Google’s beta purgatory, “sits very closely between Data Studio and Analytics,” according to Farina.

Its drag-and-drop interface offers several report types, including a Segment Overlap that identifies users who share characteristics. That visualization, in turn, is available for export back into Analytics, where you can drill down from the audience level to the individual user:

Advanced Analysis combines elegant visualization with granular user information.
Product-market fit and alternative solutions

A common refrain from Farina was that GA360 is an enterprise product—most users fail to max out the capabilities of the free version and wrongly assume that an unsampled report or limited export holds back analysis and growth.

Companies that are a good product-market fit for GA360 likely fall into one of three categories:

Extremely high-traffic sites. According to Quantcast, about 600 U.S. sites generate more than 1 million monthly visitors—enough so that a month’s worth of data is sampled below the 50% threshold. For those sites (and many with less traffic), an enterprise analytics tool is essential.
Large B2B companies that already use Salesforce. The managed integration of Google Analytics and Salesforce data would likely cover the costs for any independent effort to bind analytics and CRM data.
Companies with high ad spend. As noted earlier, a $100,000 monthly ad spend requires a 12.5% increase in efficiency to cover the cost of GA360.

What about alternative analytics platforms like Heap, Segment, or similar options? Where do they fit into the analytics conversation?

To Farina, they’re good options for “advanced businesses with small data sets that don’t have the ad spend, volume, or are not yet at a level where $12,500 per month is something that they can allocate.”

A potential challenge of a patchwork system, Farina continued, is aligning all teams on the same data:

Even if you use Heap, it’s likely that Google Analytics is still a primary tool that marketing uses, where Heap might be something that the data science team starts to use more.

And the challenge that we’ve seen again and again is that, at that point, you have two different data sets and two different implementations and two different sets of metrics and conversions.

That can be a real challenge, especially when the data is not directional between platforms, and you get into this area where no one trusts it, no one is using it, and you’re not getting value out of either side.

I asked Farina a final question: If Google is worried about competition from Adobe, why not just give away other 360 features for free? Or charge $100 per month?

Some aspects of Google Analytics 360 are a clear drain on server resources, but others, like the ability to connect GA data to a CRM, could quickly undermine a primary selling point for Adobe.

“There’s a user journey,” Farina argued. “We already have great solutions for mid-market. You can use something like Google Analytics and add Segment or Heap if you’re not at the level of being able to benefit from a Google Analytics 360 or Adobe.”


If you continually bump up against the data caps of the free version of Google Analytics, a switch to Google Analytics 360 may be necessary—even though the business case might remain murky. You’ll get more complete data, but how will you drive more revenue with it?

The key benefits of GA360, then, are about putting data to work:

Using BigQuery to connect on-site behavior with individual users for targeting via marketing automation platforms.
Exporting tailored audiences in Google Analytics back into ad platforms for smarter remarketing.
Using integrated ad spend data to create more reliable attribution models that, in turn, dictate ad spend.

Ultimately, Farina’s reference to the “user journey” applies to more than the analytics platform. It also includes overall marketing maturity: Even user-specific data or actionable attribution modeling will fail to deliver ROI unless those insights direct marketing efforts beyond analytics.

The post Google Analytics 360: The Features Worth $150k a Year appeared first on CXL.


The 2018 State of Conversion Optimization Report

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To assess the State of the Conversion Optimization Industry in 2018, we gave a 26 question survey to 701 people who work in the optimization space.

This year we partnered with VWO, the all-in-one platform that helps you conduct visitor research, build an optimization roadmap, and run continuous experimentation. This partnership resulted in a great success as we were able to reach more than double respondents compared to last year (701 vs. 333).

This is the third issue of our report (the first was published in 2016) and—with three datasets available—we begin to see some trends.

This post outlines some of our findings. You can download the full report for free here.

Some major findings this year:

Global trends for prioritizing and investing in CRO;
Which industry (Ecommerce, Lead Gen, SaaS, Agencies) is investing more in CRO;
The biggest struggles of CROs;
How much CROs make (by industry and work experience).

Let’s begin…

Demographics: The profile of an optimizer

CRO professionals are mostly male. The imbalance was evident in 2016, and the trend seems to be continuing (at least in our sample population). The female CRO population decreased from 27.6% (2016) to 17.3% (2018).

Age group

Concerning age, there is no big change from the previous year. Almost 50% of the CRO population is in the 30–40 age group.

Female CROs seem to be younger; they’re equally distributed in the age groups 20–30 and 30–40.


While a plurality of survey responses came from the United States (30.6%), we received responses from 68 Countries.

Four countries—United States, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, and Canada (ordered by number of respondents)—account for 54% of all responses.

Company type

The proportion of CRO professionals working in-house and those working at an agency (or freelance) has remained stable throughout the three years of the survey. This year, 56.7% reported working in-house; 43.3% work with clients.

Most CROs work at an agency (or as freelancers) or in ecommerce. All other industries combined—SaaS, Lead Gen, Publishing/Media, Non-profit/Government) make up just 34.9% of the total.

We spotted one trend: The percentage of professionals working in ecommerce is decreasing while the percentage of those working in agencies (or freelancing) is increasing.

Note: We still do not have enough data on the Publishing/Media or Non-Profit/Government sectors, so we will not focus on those when comparing industry trends.

Most respondents (51.9%) work exclusively on optimization of desktop and mobile websites. As in previous years, very few optimize mobile applications.


In 2018, the average salary of CROs is $69,238 ($64,984 in 2017, $71,340 in 2016).

In 2016, the United States had the highest average salary at $87,926; in 2017, Australia took the prize with an average salary of $88,676. This year, the United States wins the crown with a whopping $95,431.

Among the top four countries (by number of respondents), the lowest salaries were in The Netherlands, where a CRO professional makes an average of $56,847.

By industry, SaaS companies pay more than others. CROs working in SaaS make an average of $84,294; no other industry reaches the $70k mark. The Publishing/Media industry has the lowest average pay, with a salary of just $48,750.

So, if you want to make big money as a CRO expert, should you be based in the United States and work in the SaaS industry? Yes! Survey data backs this up (brilliant), with 47 (wealthy) respondents in this very situation who make an average of $109,680 per year.

On the other side of the spectrum, you probably don’t want to live in The Netherlands and work in the Publishing/Media Industry: You would have just $49,166 to show for one year of CRO efforts.

But before you pack your things to move to the United States: Salary correlates strongly with experience:

You need several years of CRO experience before you can score big numbers.

(If you want to expedite that personal development—and earn the commensurate salary—you need to know your stuff. At CXL Institute, we teach CROs the strategies and tactics of top practitioners.)

Work Experience

Speaking of experience, 62.4% of respondents have been working in the CRO space for less than 4 years and 81.7% for less than 6 years. CRO is still a very young industry.

The CRO process

A company is only as good as its processes. Processes achieve consistent, long-term results. But do you know what CROs reported as their biggest struggle in 2018?

The lack of a well-defined, efficient process.

Here are the relevant questions we asked:

Who does optimization in your organization?
How often do you meet with others on your optimization team to discuss CRO?
Does your team have a conversion optimization process that you follow?
Do you have a formal conversion/user-research process you use for extracting insights?
Do you have a test prioritization framework that you follow?
Approximately how many online experiments (tests) does your team run every month?

CRO and teamwork

Companies take CRO seriously: In over 60% of cases, CRO is in the hands of a specific person or a dedicated team.

Across all industries, only 15.8% of respondents stated that “Optimization is nobody’s primary job.”

Ecommerce, SaaS, and Lead Gen companies are investing in CRO. Over 30% of respondents working in these industries report working on a CRO team (with 25% working independently on CRO).

Not surprisingly, agencies are the most likely to have a CRO team (40%).

CRO meetings

CRO meetings are most often held weekly..or not at all. Some 30.6% of respondents report weekly meetings, while 29.2% report meeting “only when necessary.”

Among those having at least one CRO meeting per week (daily or weekly), three industries stand out: Ecommerce (51.7%), Lead Gen (46.6%), Agencies/Freelancers (45.1%). All the other industries scored below average.

The CRO process in detail

When it comes to a CRO process, the SaaS industry lags behind. While 23.7% of companies have no structured process, the percentage of SaaS Companies with no process is 31.7%.

Ecommerce and Agencies are the most structured, beating the average of 37.6% that have a “documented/structured” process with 44.1% and 41.0%, respectively.

In 2018, the percentage of Companies without a formal research approach is almost the same as in 2017 (38–39%). There is an increase in the percentage of those who created their own process and a decrease of those using borrowed process, including ResearchXL.

We see this as a positive sign that indicates an increasing level of commitment to CRO activities.

Among companies with their own research process (39.4%), Agencies/Freelancers (43.5%) and Lead Gen (41.9%) stand out. Ecommerce is on par with the average, and SaaS lags behind (33.7%).

Another important component of the overall CRO process is the system used for the prioritization of tests. While most companies use a test prioritization framework, 43.6% just wing it. Things are getting better—it was 47.1% in 2017.

Ecommerce companies and Agencies beat the average when it comes to investing in an “in-house” tool.

CRO execution

Most companies (68.2%) do not execute more than four tests per month. SaaS and Leag Gen companies are equally “slow” while Agencies are leading the way, with 39% executing more than four tests per month.

A slow rate of testing by in-house teams is one reason why companies outsource CRO work to agencies (like our own CXL Agency).

Agencies live and die by the ROI they deliver to clients, motivating investments in better systems and teamwork, which return higher execution speed—and greater ROI (more on that below).

Tracking results and ROI

A good process should be self-improving; there should be procedures in place to learn from experience and modify the process as necessary. This is possible only if results are handled and evaluated properly and shared across the CRO team.

To get a good idea of what’s going on in the CRO Industry, we asked the following binary questions:

Is the percentage of winning tests tracked?
Is the average lift per test tracked?
Are CRO test results shared across your team?

Lead Gen companies scored “Yes” most often, followed closely by Ecommerce organizations.

When we asked, “How are CRO test results typically archived?”, we found a gradual trend towards better results handling. Only 20.7% of respondents fail to archive results, an improvement from the 24.1% we measured in 2016.

Most companies still export and archive full data with screenshots, but more than a third (a 36.6% cross-industry average) opt for specific archiving tools or testing tools with built-in archives.

Proving the ROI

As we learned from this survey, proving the ROI of CRO activities is one of the top six struggles of CROs. (You don’t have to guess the other struggles—just keep reading.) If your leadership doesn’t believe that conversion optimization will yield returns, that’s a big problem when you have to get buy-in.

Does CRO work?

In the survey, we asked participants to rate the results of their CRO efforts. Most respondents (56.4%) reported better results compared to the previous year, while 37% declared they achieved the same results.

The Lead Gen industry stands out, with 65.9% achieving better results than in 2017. But of course, “better” results don’t necessarily mean “very profitable” results.

To understand the perception of the ROI within organizations, let’s see how they’ve changed their CRO budget and priorities in 2018. Some 60.8% report that, in their organizations, CRO activities are given more priority than in 2017.

Again, professionals in the LeadGen Industry paint the best picture, scoring 65.9%. (Same percentage, same industry: It seems that getting results pays off.)

Only 7.8% of Companies are making CRO less of a priority in 2018.

But money is the final (and definitive) indicator of the effectiveness of conversion optimization, and only 45.0% of respondents report a bigger CRO budget than last year. Even in Lead Gen companies, a budget came in only 54.6% of cases.

This means that, although the perceived effectiveness of conversion optimization has made it more of a priority, that effectiveness has not driven a majority of organizations to put more money into CRO.

In most cases (over 90%), CRO still does not have a dedicated budget but is part of the overall budget or marketing budget. However, in 2018, 57.9% of companies specifically mention CRO in the budget. (It was 53% in 2017.)

Trends in testing

Here it comes the fun part: tests!

In the survey, we asked participants to rate the usefulness of different testing methods. Here is the list, ordered by the average score each method totaled:

Digital Analytics
A/B Testing
User Testing
Customer Surveys
Click Maps/Scroll Maps/Mouse Hover Maps
Website Polls
Eye Tracking
Biometric Research

The ranking is exactly the same as in 2107.

Some 97.6% of participants report running A/B/n tests, and 65.4% run exclusively A/B/n tests.

Compared to 2017, A/B/n increased in popularity; MVT is stable in the 31–32% range, although it has increased 25% increase compared to 2016.

Bandit tests are the least common, run by just 8.4% of our sample population.

Some 52.8% of CROs responding to our survey do not have a standardized stopping point for A/B testing—no change compared to 2017.

The biggest struggles

This year we asked an open-ended question: “In one sentence or phrase, what is your biggest CRO/Optimization challenge today?”

We collected 580 responses on this one, with a length ranging from 4 to 328 characters. (And, yes, the four-character answers were meaningful: “time.”) We analyzed each answer and identified 39 recurring topics.

After that, we created a scoring system based on the length of the answer (as suggested by Ryan Levesque in his book Ask), and we scored the topics. This method allowed us to sort topics (struggles) and assign a weight to the pain they cause.

According to this scoring system, 50% of the pain is caused by just six struggles:

Establishing a process
Educating clients
Proving ROI
Time and budget constraints
Integrating CRO into the business

Establish a sound process for CRO is by far the most common struggle—and the one that got the longest answers.

Almost all of the struggles mentioned above are internal struggles, meaning they arise not from external circumstances but from within the organization. This means that they can largely be fixed within the organization, too.

That brings us to the next batch of struggles, the ones that take our pain coverage from 50% to 80%:

Getting management onboard
Getting clients
Wrong expectations
Building a CRO team
Client participation
Technical skills
Cooperation between development units

In this second batch, only two struggles are external: traffic and client participation. Everyone in the CRO space has experienced at least a few of the 14 struggles above. Curious about the other 15 struggles? Download the full report here.


Overall, there are largely positive changes compared to 2017, and we were able to dive deeper on how different industries are investing in CRO: Lead Gen has taken the lead, followed closely by Ecommerce and Agencies. SaaS still lags a bit behind, but not by far.

We are thrilled for what is coming in 2019 and we can’t wait to launch a new survey!

Wanna be in the 2019 Survey?

Over the three years that we’ve conducted this survey, we’ve noticed that CRO specialists tend to go by different job titles. This makes it hard to identify them correctly and to get in touch with them for a survey like this one.

Here are some job titles a CRO expert might go by:

Conversion Optimizer
Conversion Specialist/Consultant/Strategist
CRO Specialist
Director of Optimization
Director of Marketing
Ecommerce Manager
Digital Marketing Analyst
Growth Hacker / Head of Growth
Digital Marketing Manager
Growth Marketing Manager
UX Analyst
Product Manager
Web Analyst
And so many more…

If you are a CRO specialist and want to participate in the 2019 Survey, leave us your email in this form. We’ll get in touch with you when the time comes to collect new data.

Download the full report—with more charts and data—here.

The post The 2018 State of Conversion Optimization Report appeared first on CXL.


How to Dominate Google in 2019

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You’ve already experienced it… SEO is becoming harder and harder.

As time goes on, it takes longer to rank and you have to spend more money to get the results you want.

But the reality is, you can’t wait forever to get results. And you have no choice but to leverage SEO as a tactic because everyone else is doing it.

So, what should you do?

Well, the first thing you need to do is adjust how you think about SEO. SEO isn’t only about rankings. To be honest, I don’t even track them for my own site. It’s about getting the right kind of traffic.

You know, the visitors who are ready to buy.

So, instead of teaching you how to rank for competitive head terms, which is going to be even more difficult in 2019, I’m going to break down a formula that will give you much faster results and sales in this ultra-competitive environment.

And best of all, I am going to break it down into 4 steps as I know you don’t have the time to do everything.

Here’s the 4-step SEO strategy you should follow in 2019:

Step #1: Attract customers before they are ready to buy

The most expensive keywords to go after are buyer intent keywords. You know, the ones where someone types in a keyword and is ready to spend money right then and there.

And that will always be the case. Not just from an SEO standpoint, but even a pay per click standpoint.

So, what should you do… not go after these lucrative keywords?

Of course not. More so, you have to go after them no matter how long it takes to rank. You just have to be patient.

But in the short run, there are other keywords you can go after that aren’t as competitive and don’t cause a sale right away. But they do cause a sale to happen… it just takes a few weeks from when that person first lands on your site to when they buy.

So how do you find the keywords that aren’t as competitive and cause people to buy (as long as you are willing to be patient)?

You use Google Correlate.

Here’s how it works…

Let’s say you are selling beard oil but you know the term is competitive and will take you a lot longer to rank for than you have.

So what do you do?

With Google Correlate, it will show you all of the terms people search for in Google before they search for the term “beard oil.”

In other words, these are the same people who buy beard oil products… but now you are going to attract them to your site before they are even ready to buy.

Type in “beard oil” or the term you want to rank for in Google Correlate. Then, shift series to -2 weeks, which means you will be given a list of terms people search for 2 weeks before they are likely to type in “beard oil.”

And then you will get a list of terms:

As you can see from the image above, people type in terms like beard products, best beard oil, beard balm, what is beard oil, and how to make beard oil.

If you write blog content that is super in depth about those phrases, you’ll appeal to people who also search for beard oil.

The cool part about Google Correlate is it works differently than Google Suggest or any other keyword tool because they are showing you what people search for before they are ready to buy.

And similar to how you put in -2 weeks as the shift series, you can turn it into a positive number and see what people search for weeks after looking up beard oil:

You’ll notice a lot of people who search for beard oil search for oils related to coughs.

Most people who sell beard oil probably don’t think about offering oils for coughing, but it is a similar audience and it’s a great way for you to generate extra revenue from the customer base you already have.

Step #2: Land and expand

Everyone focuses on ranking for new terms. But there is an issue, it’s hard to rank for new terms.

Even though SEO has a huge ROI, it’s a strategy that requires patience.

But here is the thing, you can get results faster if you use the land and expand strategy.

Here’s how it works. Log into Google Search Console. Next, click on “performance” and you will see a list of terms that you currently rank for:

Then I want you to click on one of the most popular terms you already rank for and then click on pages. You should see a report that shows you the URL that ranks for the term on Google. You need this URL because you will be modifying this page.

Now I want you to take that term and put it into Ubersuggest. Once the report loads, click on “Keyword Ideas” in the navigation. You’ll see a report that will look something like this:

You’ll see a laundry list of long tail phrases… I want you to take the ones that are buyer intent related and add them to the page that already ranks for the head term.

When adding the long tail phrases, make sure you adjust your content to be relevant to those keywords. And pick the ones that are highly related to your product or service. Just stuffing them into your page without adjusting the content is spammy and won’t provide a good user experience to searchers.

What you will find is that because you are already ranking for the head term, typically you will shoot to page one within 30 to 60 days for the long-tail variation by adjusting your content. It’s a quick win!

But the key to this strategy is to pick the right longtail keywords. Don’t just look at traffic numbers, focus on terms that you know will cause a sale or a lead.

Step #3: Build a brand

Google has been placing more emphasis on brands. In other words, if you have a strong brand, you’ll rank faster.

When I really started focusing on brand building, my traffic went from 240,839 in June 2016:

To 454,382 in August 2016:

As the Ex-CEO of Google said:

Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.

In other words, if you want to succeed on Google in the long run, you have to build a brand. As your brand grows, your search traffic will as well.

The way to monitor your brand growth is Google Trends. Type in your brand name into Google Trends as well as a few of your competitors to see how you are stacking up.

Sadly, there isn’t a quick hack to skyrocket your brand. There is, however, a formula that works for both personal and corporate brands.

So, what is the formula?

You do something that is bold!

Sure people can tell you to blog, speak at conferences, run ads… but none of that helps you build a brand that has a loyal following because everyone else is already doing the same things (or trying at least).

But what your competition isn’t doing is being bold. If you want a brand like Tony Robbins or Apple, bold is the way to go.

So how do you do something that is bold?

Well, lets first start with a personal brand (although I recommend that you build a corporate one instead).

Do the opposite

When it comes to building a personal brand, you’ll have to take the opposite approach of most people in your space. Whatever is working for them won’t work for you.

No one cares for the copycat, especially when they are satisfied with the original solution.

In other words, if you do exactly what your competitor is doing no one will care to follow you.

Let me give you examples of how to do the opposite of your competition:

Genuinely help people – a lot of people blog and participate on the social web, but how many people take the time to respond to their community? As far as I can tell, less than 1%. Just look at me. For years, I’ve responded to comments on my blog, Facebook, and even YouTube. I am so engaged with my community on LinkedIn that they honored me as one of their Top Voices of 2018! Most people are too lazy to do this… doing the opposite has helped me build a connection with you. And if you are wondering why I do this it’s because when I started out I had no money and people helped me. I’m just trying to do the same.
Writing 10x content – when I got into blogging, everyone was doing it. So I had to find a way to separate myself. I did this by writing in-depth guides… not those 5,000-word blog posts, I am talking about 30,000-word guides. On top of that, I spent money on the design so they would look beautiful.
Creating video content – when I got into the digital marketing community, there were already large conferences that had thousands of attendees. I thought speaking at all of them would help my brand… and they did to some extent, but I was just another speaker. But very few people in my space were creating video content… so now instead of giving speeches at conferences, I give them on YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I’m able to reach more people without having to travel and the content lives on forever (and is available for free to everyone!).

That’s how I stood out from my competition and built a personal brand. And then I did it for years as brands aren’t built overnight.

If you aren’t sure on how to do the opposite of your competition when it comes to your personal brand leave a comment and I’ll try and give you some ideas.

Now let’s go into building a brand for your company… It all comes down to one thing…

Be bold

No matter what you are selling online you have competition. It doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or a B2C business… you have competition, which means it is going to be hard for your brand to stand out.

So, how do you differentiate yourself?

You do so by being bold.

Let me give you an example. In the United States, there are tons of options when it comes to cell phone carriers. So how do you stand out when everyone offers the same phone and competitive pricing?

Well, T-Mobile separated themselves by offering free Netflix, unlimited data, and free roaming.

And you don’t have to be a big company to do something bold. When Zappos started selling shoes they decided to do a few things different. First, they offered a refund policy that lasted 1 year. Just think about that… if you return a shoe to them 12 months later, the chances are it’s out of style and they won’t be able to resell it.

Then they decided to randomly upgrade their shipping. So instead of ground shipping, they would randomly upgrade you to 2-day or next-day air.

And Amazon crushed their competition the moment they rolled out their Prime program. When it first came out, you would get free 2-day shipping on all Prime products for just $99 a year. What a ridiculously amazing offer.

Now that’s being bold!

Being bold doesn’t have to break your bank account. You don’t have to do something like Amazon and T-Mobile… it can be as simple as providing amazing customer service when you are in an industry that’s known for terrible support.

If you are unsure of how you can be bold with your business, leave a comment and I will try and give you some ideas. Make sure you provide an overview of your business so I can give you halfway decent ideas. 😉

And of course, being bold won’t build your brand overnight (it takes years) but you should see growth each quarter. If you aren’t, that means you aren’t being bold enough.

Step #4: Build a better mousetrap

A mousetrap? Why would you want to build a mousetrap?

Link building is still important. Sure, Google is looking at many other factors now, but link building still helps with rankings.

But it is harder to build links than it used to be back in the day. Everyone is blogging… heck, there are over 440 million blogs and over a billion if you count Tumblr, Medium, and

Yes, that means there are more sites to hit up and ask for a link but everyone is doing that.

So how do you build links when everyone is getting those spammy emails asking for a link, such as the one below?

You have to build a better mousetrap. Something so amazing that everyone wants to link to it without you asking for a link.

It used to be detailed guides but seeing 10,000-word guides that have fancy designs are more common these days than when I started creating them.

They still work, especially when it comes to brand building, but they just aren’t as effective when it comes to link building.

Same with infographics, they used to get tons of social shares and links (they still do to some extent), but they aren’t as effective as they used to be.

So what kind of mousetrap do you need to build? You could start off with something that people are used to paying for.

For example, the consulting firm Price Intelligently released a free analytics software called ProfitWell.

With very little marketing, they were able to generate 943 backlinks from 187 domains.

I also did this with Ubersuggest.

I put in more effort into marketing, so I was able to generate 10,667 unique backlinks.

A great example in the consumer space (this would do wonders for e-commerce sites as well) is animated infographics. Everyone has seen infographics, so Aminagraffs decided to make their infographics animated, which caused them to go viral.

Here’s part of their infographic that breaks down how a car motor works.

Best of all, the Amimagraphs founder didn’t do any marketing… the graphic just spread. Even with no marketing, it generated 751 backlinks from 136 domains and over 200,000 visitors.

If you want to use old-school link building tactics, you can, they just won’t help you as much in 2019. So, get creative and build a better mousetrap.

When you build a good mousetrap, you may be worried about cost. But there is a different way to think about it…

How much would you be spending on marketing to get the same results?

People make fun of me for what I am doing with Ubersuggest and think it is silly that I can “lose” $150,000 or so a month. But if I had to buy the traffic that I get because of Ubersuggest it would cost me much more than $150,000. Even though my mousetrap is expensive, it is still cheaper than paid ads.

And you don’t have to go as far as me. Doing what Animagraffs is affordable. I paid them $750 to create an animated infographic for me. I’m not sure what they charge these days, but I bet you can find someone on the web who will do it for a few hundred bucks.


Instead of thinking of SEO in the traditional sense, I want you to shift your strategy.

SEO is only going to get harder, Google is going to continually change their algorithm in ways you may not like, but the one thing that is certain is the old way of doing SEO will get you results, just not in the timeframe you want.

So, follow the 4 steps above. They are unconventional, but the industry is so competitive and saturated that you have no choice but to think outside of the box.

So what other unique strategies are you going to leverage in 2019?

The post How to Dominate Google in 2019 appeared first on Neil Patel.


14 Digital Marketing Experts Share Their Marketing Home Run of 2018

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As marketers, we hit a lot of singles.

Singles are where our bread and butter come from—consistent success with tried and true strategies.

But, every once and a while, we hit a digital marketing home run…

They come in all shapes and sizes, on all platforms and mediums.

Today, we’re sharing the best home runs of 2018 from 14 digital marketing experts. Swipe their insights to make your business even better in the new year.

Let’s get to it!

Sunny Lenarduzzi, Founder of YouTube for Bosses

This year, we generated $100,000 from 1 YouTube video leveraging our signature formula for turning viewers into sales.

I built my business on organic traffic from YouTube, but at first, my strategy was mainly focused on list building as opposed to generating automated sales.

Creating an automated lead gen and sales system from our YouTube channel has allowed us to…

Diversify our lead gen platforms
Generate profit without paid advertising
Build our revenue with an evergreen, automated method

And in the video below, I detail the strategy that helped us achieve this…


We have duplicated the method I shared in the video above on the majority of videos on my YouTube channel, and we are averaging between 10-30% of our revenue directly from YouTube. We have also used this same method to generate over $5,000,000 in revenue for our clients.

See if this strategy can work for you in the new year!

Russ Henneberry, Digital Marketing Consultant, Author, & Speaker at

Selling high-ticket live events is tough.

You are asking a prospect to make an investment of the most valuable things they have: time and money.

And, for those who have never attended the event, you are selling them a “black box.” Unlike selling shoes or office supplies or cars, the prospect cannot hold the event in their hand. They cannot kick the tires or try the event on and walk around the store for a few minutes to see if it’s a good fit.

As a result, great care must be taken to reveal the contents of this “black box” through the use of images, video and… yep… webinars.

I’ve worked on many events over the years, but this year I hit a home run on selling a high-ticket bicycling event.

Here are the details of this 5-day campaign:

Business Name: Bubba’s Pampered Pedalers (Yep… seriously.)
Event Name: Coast 2 Coast Bicycle Tour
Offer Price: $8,900
Length of Campaign: 5 days
Total Sales: $214,100 (60% Margin. Not too shabby.)
Total # of Email Subscribers: 4,226
# of Emails Sent: 7

This campaign was divided into 3 phases and email was the primary marketing channel:

Phase I: Awareness, Interest, & Segmentation

In this first phase, the goal was to simply segment the email list so that I could stop pestering those who are uninterested in this ride and start pestering them with another ride.

I used a LOT of images in these emails (and on the landing page) to help them see what it’s like to be on this ride:

Subject Lines:

Announcing the Coast 2 Coast bicycle tour
Bike from the Pacific to the Atlantic
Bike Coast 2 Coast (Here’s what to expect)
Thinking of biking coast 2 coast (You’ll love these pics)

Those who opened or clicked were moved to Phase II. Those that didn’t were removed from this campaign.

Phase II: Subscription and Education

Because of the massive investment of both time and money required to buy and participate in this ride, I decided to use a webinar to educate these prospects.

Yep… I said webinar.

Of course, we didn’t call it a webinar. We called it the “Coast 2 Coast Information Session.”

Bottom line is these people needed to know what was in the “black box” in order to make an informed buying decision.  They wanted to know how they would get a shower, how their laundry was going to get done and what size bike tires they would need.

The Information Session webinar lasted about an hour, and to close it we made an offer of a $500 discount and a free tent upgrade (Total Savings: $700). We did the webinar on a Thursday night and gave them to the end of the weekend to take advantage of the savings.

Subject Lines:

Coast 2 Coast Bike Tour (Live, online info session this Wednesday)
Get your Coast 2 Coast questions answered
Can you come to the info session?

Phase III: Closing the Deal

In this last phase, we simply ramped up the urgency as the deadline for the savings loomed. By Sunday afternoon, we had to close the cart and replace the call to action (CTA) on the landing page with a waiting list. More than 75% of the buyers had attended the webinar live.

A little humor never hurts when you’re closing hard:

Subject Lines:

2018 Coast 2 Coast Tour at lowest price ever!
Coast 2 Coast Tour ($700 savings ends soon)
LAST CHANCE ($700 savings ends at midnight)
8 hours left to save $700 on Coast 2 Coast…

The results? A sold-out event and north of $200K in sales in a weekend owed mostly to a simple information session that allowed the prospective buyer to “try the event on for size” on a live webinar.

You can view all the emails that were sent for this campaign here.

Sue B. Zimmerman, The Instagram Expert of Sue B. Zimmerman Enterprise

This year, we went into 2018 with the goal to use 1-on-1 engagement through Instagram Direct Message to sell our “big ticket” group coaching programs, Hives.

The offer point is $5k, so to achieve this would be no small feat.

To do this, we directed people to send me (Sue) a direct message (DM) in…

Posts on my feed
And in my bio

…to get as many DM’s from as many engaged followers as possible.

We realized how important it is to ask our followers to take action in all 3 of these places to spark as much conversation as we can.

We also paid close attention to our most active followers and initiated DMs with them, often sending a personal video.

Breaking It Down

Offer Price Point: $5,000

We used a 5-week promotion that included a live webinar. The webinar led to an application for the program and then to a live sales call with me.

After the lead expressed interest about the program via DM, I’d provide the link to the application.

Once that was reviewed and approved, I’d have a sales call with the lead. Often on the same day. And close the sale on the same day, too.

The “quick conversion” is part of what is attractive. Most of the campaign’s sales came in live, on the call, with 100% of sales coming in within 24 hours due to the urgency of a fast action bonus.

Wins from the DM Selling Process

A high-ticket offer price point like $5k typically requires trust.

So it was great to see that 21% of people who signed up were NOT existing customers.

Difficulties with DM Strategy

It can be a time-consuming process.

It is important to consider both the salesperson and the team schedule, to understand availability.

I ALWAYS reply personally from my accounts, though a company could use the same process with a sales team.

The Continued Lifecycle of a Group Coaching Client

Why does one $5k sale coming in from Direct Message matter so much?

First, we found we can go from a DM to creating a lifelong client and supporter.

Second, our program has a strong retention rate, with 55% of the last session re-enrolling.

Creating 1 intimate connection via direct message has the potential to be lucrative beyond the 1 sale.

Since then, we used the same strategy for a different offer where we sold a 1-day online retreat with the Sue B. Zimmerman team. We promoted it in a series of Stories, encouraging direct messages if interested.

The $497 dollar offer sold out in 3 days, without any ad spend, other social or email marketing.

This is another example of a high-end price point product converting quickly with a strong community in DM.

How We Are Using It in 2019

We now understand and have the numbers to back up how important direct message conversations are.

It’s important to be creative with how you are starting conversations in the DM. Use polls, questions, and other prompts in Stories.

Also, Instagram has recently released a new update for business accounts where you can use “quick replies.” With quick replies, you can craft really intimate yet efficient messages saving time and making this tactic even easier to implement.

Mike Rhodes, Founder & CEO of WebSavvy

At WebSavvy, we LOVE playing with the new stuff, the Betas, the crazy stuff…

We want to know does it actually improve client results, or does Google want us to use it so they just get more data!

We test a lot. Every day.

The following 3 Google ad tactics have worked really well for us and our clients in 2018. Hopefully, you can implement them in the new year and keep growing those profits, too. 

1) Pay for Conversions

Google took it’s “Conversion Optimizer” (CO) feature out of beta in January 2008!

Back then it was a pretty basic tool. The idea being that you gave the “Machine” a target CPA (cost per action—i.e. cost per lead or cost per sale) and it would try to hit that target for you. Up until then, the only options had been to pay for clicks (for Search at least).

With CO now we could focus on the goal, maybe getting leads for $50, without worrying as much about the details.

You’ll still get the same amount of leads, but you only pay when you get them.

Except, well, it didn’t work that well!

And you still paid for the clicks, you just helped point the Machine in the right direction.

In 2018, Google expanded a newish feature called “Pay for Conversions” (PFC) and allowed advertisers to use it on ALL Display campaigns, not just Smart Display Campaigns (of which I’m not a fan).

So, now you can run regular Display campaigns, but instead of paying for clicks (and hoping Google hits your target CPA), you ONLY pay if and when Google gets you a conversion.

Not bad huh!

If you’re like me, your first thought might be, “But what about the volume of leads?” That was my concern, but the Product Manager I spoke to said that volume won’t suffer. You’ll still get the same amount of leads, but you only pay when you get them.

Of course, as more and more advertisers adopt this tactic, expect costs to rise. But for now, the results we’ve seen have been excellent.

If you’re running Google Display Network (GDN) ads, and your account is eligible, then give this a try—just look for the “Pay for” section in your campaign settings.

You’ll need to have at least 100 conversions in the past 30 days and 90% of those must happen within 7 days of the click. Also, your CPA target needs to be under $200.

2) Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Google told us recently that we’re the largest user of this technology in Australia. Which probably means wherever you are, not many people are using it yet. Which means opportunity for you my friend!

AMP is designed to speed up the load time of mobile pages (which now account for over 50% of all searches).

Essentially, you create new versions of your mobile landing pages that load super-fast and therefore convert better. You can learn more here.

We’ve seen “Mobile Speed Scores” move from 2-3 to 6-8. Which has led to increases in conversion rates and the volume of conversions. One client saw a decrease in load times from 9.2 seconds to just 2.8! That reduced “visitor loss” by 64%.

Every campaign is different, but the average increase has been 12.3% in conversion rate and just under 10% in the volume of conversions.

Would your clients like 10% more sales from the same ad spend? Give AMP a try.

3) TrueView for Action (TV4A)

This works! Really well.

This format for “pre-roll” YouTube ads gets clicks. A lot of them.

And those clicks convert.

When combined with a Product Feed (for ecom clients) the additional sales have been very impressive with Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) better on many YouTube campaigns than non-brand search!

For instance, a retailer with a target CPA of $32 is getting sales for $8.63 from YouTube campaigns using TV4A ads.

Even really short videos (6-15 seconds) are working well.

Well worth testing.

Hopefully, those 3 tactics help you squeeze more from your Google ads campaigns in 2019.

(NOTE: To help ensure you hit a digital marketing home run, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Shannon Goodell, Social Media Manager of DigitalMarketer

Yes, Facebook is a big focus for us here at DigitalMarketer. And while it remains a big focus, especially with video, we really wanted to hone in and harness the power and growth of Instagram.

So, a major focus of mine since I started in May has been to grow our Instagram account, organically.

Not only the number of followers but also engagements that go beyond just likes and actually drives people to act. From visiting our blog through a link in a Story to starting a conversation that leads to a sale in a direct message, like in the example below…

From the end of January 2018 to November 27th, we have seen our account go from around 10,000 followers to nearly 45,000.

We’ve also seen impressions increase, which means more people are seeing our content and getting to know our brand!

How did we accomplish this? It basically comes down to 3 key things that ANY business can swipe:

Post consistently
Use relevant hashtags (and plenty of them)
Post Stories daily

Yes, and there are other factors that have contributed to our follower growth, but these are the 3 things I make sure to follow.

Consistency is absolutely key.

For one thing, people will come to expect that daily post and look forward to engaging with it. People will be able to discover your brand through your hashtags. And, by making sure they are relevant to who your brand is, you’ll attract more of the right people.

If you are asking why you should really focus on growing your followers?

Well, Stories!

(I’ll explain why in a second…)

You can use Stories to establish your brand as a go-to resource in your field. Stories are huge (and continue to get bigger with over 400 million users), and so many brands are not using them.

The biggest initiative I’ve implemented is using Stories to connect our target audience with content that is relevant to them and gets them in your funnel. We use Stories to share…

New blogs
Evergreen content that is still super relevant
New podcast episodes
Special guests
Behind-the-scenes at our workshops and Agency Growth Days

…and more.

Fortunately for us, since we have over 10,000 followers, we are able to put the link to our blog or podcast directly in the Story. Accounts under 10,000 are not able to do this.

So, if you are under 10,000 followers, focus on using Stories to showcase why people should follow you (behind-the-scenes, helpful tips, special guests), while also posting consistent content and using relevant hashtags, following relevant accounts, and commenting on posts.

Then, once you hit 10,000 followers, go all in on posting Stories with links for people to “Swipe Up To Learn More!”

In the meantime, you can also use a CTA in your Story to drive people to the link in your bio.

Here’s an example of one of our Stories that we use to drive blog traffic. As you can see, we always include a CTA to “Swipe Up To…”.

And by posting relevant content and consistently, we’ve seen an increase in our engagement. We’ve gone from 413 likes, 70 comments, and 17 media sent in January to 8,785 likes, 383 comments, and 35 media sent (media sent would be our posts and stories).

So, what kind of content has worked to increase our engagement? We’ve mainly focused on 3 content types to consistently share on our feed:

Quote images
Tip/graphic videos
Book images

Yes, if you follow us (and, you totally should ), you’ll consistently see these 3 types of content.

And, the most consistent performer for us is the easiest to create—quote images!

Any brand can create these and consistently post them. We pull quotes from…

The leadership team here at DigitalMarketer
Podcast guests
Traffic & Conversion Summit speakers
And our own blog

Ryan Deiss is our main source of quotes, and his quote images, in particular, perform consistently well for us.

There are a variety of resources you can use to pull quotes to create your own quote images. Just be sure they fit with your brand and are interesting and inspiring for your target audience.

There are many different types of quotes you can use. We’ve found that these in particular work for us:


The second type of content we post regularly are short, graphic videos. Specifically: Tips, Podcast Snippets, and Just for Fun.

Video views are one of my key metrics, and these are an easy way to get those views. Plus, they provide value to our target audience (Tips, Podcast) or entertain and engage (Just for Fun).

This Tip video provided value and also drove traffic to our blog. When I posted the video, I also posted a Story with a link to a blog we wrote about Instagram.

This Just for Fun was used to engage our audience with the question: “What is the scariest part of being a digital marketer.” It got some great responses and was perfect for the Halloween season!

The third type of content we have tested and found has worked well for us may be even simpler to create than the quote images—pictures of relevant books.

Yep, these have been a big winner for us. In fact, this particular post was our TOP-PERFORMER for the year!

This simple book image got over 1,000 likes and 50 comments.

It was literally our graphic designer standing outside and holding the book. That was it. We use a Google Pixel for taking pics for social media, but really any phone will do.

If you’re a marketer or own an agency, there are a plethora of books that you can use. If you’re in a different industry, think of books and other visual resources, like magazines, that are relevant to your brand and audience.

Along with posting these content types, I focus on commenting with hashtags that (a) are relevant to the post and (b) will help our target audience find us.

For instance, I use Mondays to post a #MondayMotivation quote and Wednesdays to post a #WednesdayWisdom quote.

Do some hashtag research, look at the hashtags brands in your industry are using, look at the hashtags your target audience is using and start to test various hashtags. You’ll become more discoverable!

We use Sprout Social to determine which hashtags are really working for us.

I truly love coming up with ideas for Instagram and testing them to see what really resonates (trust me, we’ve had some failures).

Then, once I found that these 3 content types really work, I honed in on them.

If your brand is on Instagram, but maybe engagement and growth is stagnant, or you’re looking to create a business account and test it out, the biggest piece of advice is to: Just try new things and think about content that is both engaging and helpful to your audience.

And, Stories. Use Stories. They’ll help you stay top-of-mind!

Dennis Yu, CTO of BlitzMetrics

2018 was a pretty controversial year for Facebook. And for our home run, I’m sharing how our Co-Founder, Logan Young, got on CNN to talk about that controversy.

To get in front of millions of people, live on CNN, to discuss Cambridge Analytica and Zuckerberg’s Congressional hearing places Logan as a perceived authority on Facebook marketing.

How does a pizza delivery boy go from zero industry experience to the top of the industry in just 3 years?

There are 3 stages and you can implement them, too.

In this experiment, I’ve found that “perceived authority” (having the perception that you’re good at something) is a necessary precursor to “actual authority” (having the actual skill to implement).

The former is critical to driving sales, and it’s why most agencies and direct marketers struggle with conversion rates. The latter is critical to keeping clients and being able to monetize.

Because of this 3 phase process, we’ve been able to transform Logan from $9/hour delivering pizza to selling an hour of consulting for $1,000. Two of these per week is a 6-figure income by itself, not counting course revenue.

The cost to do this was:

$2,000 a month in boosting posts on Facebook
3 virtual assistants from the Philippines (graphics designer, video editor, Infusionsoft analyst—$800 per month x 3)
Travel (mostly paid for by clients)
And my time

I’ve spent $350,000 so far on this project to see how much of this is repeatable and practical in driving sales for founders and agencies. Turns out that building authority takes at least 12 months before you see a return, measured in incremental leads and revenue.

And it’s repeatable in most industries, as you shall see from the steps below.

3 Steps to Creating a Figurehead to Scale Your Business

To be able to scale your business, you need 1 or multiple figureheads.

If you’re the owner, it may be you or a celebrity spokesperson. If you’re a major brand, you’ll want multiple figureheads so you don’t risk a “Jared” from Subway taking you down.

And you’ll want a figurehead who…

Honors your core values
Can make videos reliably on topics (with or without a script)
And is a long-term, loyal player

I’ve been building figureheads in multiple verticals since I myself cannot be perceived as an expert in automotive, retail, local lead gen, ecommerce, pro sports, and other areas all at the same time.

Stage 0 (Starting Point)

Your figurehead doesn’t have to be well-known.

Better if they aren’t since a tabula rasa is easier to shape and you don’t have to pay them as much.

If you’re a small business, start with yourself as the figurehead. Determine what you want to be known for, organized into your 6 topics in your Topic Wheel.

Stage 1 (Build Your Foundation)

Put up a website in your figurehead’s name.

I chose, since was taken and because it works better for “young adults”—to have a young looking role model that speaks on the power of mentorship in digital marketing.

Next, create a public figure page, start inviting connections on LinkedIn, get your Facebook ads account going, and ghostwrite some articles in their name.

Stage 2 (Connect People to Topics)

Find the people in your network who have perceived authority on the topics from your Topic Wheel.

Have your figurehead interview them. And you can be in the interviews, too, if you’d like to build your authority at the same time.

If you’re able to get on stage to speak, have your public figure be your assistant running the slides so that your people can take pictures of them on stage without the risk of them saying something wrong. As they learn your material better, let them speak at pre-determined points, but be ready to jump in if necessary.

Turn these interviews and speaking engagements into blog posts and Facebook updates. Boost these posts, especially 1-minute videos. Then, remarket off 10-second views into courses, packages, and whatever you sell.

You must connect something to sell since this is what funds your machine. Use the dollar a day strategy to determine where to allocate more money based on a 300% ROAS (return on ad spend) threshold.

Expect 3-4 touches to drive a Tripwire sale and 7-10 touches to drive a course or package. If you sell high-ticket items, expect 20-30 touches.

Stage 3 (Inception)

I got Logan on USA Today several times, which we boosted to other media (people who WORK AT CNN, Forbes, and other outlets—not people who read these publications).

Provided you continue to adjust your Topic Wheel, you’ll get a massive “domino effect” in media coverage.

We got “lucky” with CNN, where Logan was able to be in front of a live audience of millions to talk about Facebook’s raging controversies.

It’s taken several hundred small podcast interviews and guest blog posts (which we boost for $1 a day) to get medium-sized publications (like ReadWriteWeb and Reuters TV), and then to major publications (Al Jazeera, USA Today, CNN, etc.).

The more coverage we got, the larger the pool of items we had to continue to keep boosting, as we want to keep these items alive.

Some posts have been alive nearly 3 years. So your budget will go from a dollar a day on just 1 post to dozens of posts spending a few dollars a day each. That’s how you get to over $100 a day.

And then we have ads in Ads Manager driving sales of our various offerings (consulting, courses, and packages—like the image below), which is what allows us to keep funding this growing library of promoted content.

The irony of all this is that you cannot directly measure the ROI of building perceived authority. So, it’s truly brand-building and openly sharing knowledge to drive inbound marketing.

Yet we know how much traffic we are generating at the bottom of the funnel, and see the consulting dollars we’re earning. People come up to us in random places (like the Melbourne airport or downtown Vancouver), saying they’ve seen Logan’s dog bite video or practice the dollar-a-day technique.

Revealed mechanically in this 3 stage process, the process may seem Machiavellian or manipulative. Yet when you consider that the feed (and increasingly stories) is 85% of Facebook’s traffic, you must be there to build awareness and trust.

People are allergic to what are blatantly ads, but 1-minute stories from people they trust increasingly cuts through advertising clutter.

This strategy will work for you even better as Facebook becomes more saturated, traffic gets more expensive, and the algorithm gets pickier.

Kathryn Aragon, Founder of Kathryn Aragon Media

This year, I decided to revive my copywriting services and, while I was at it, to target 1 company that only works with the world’s best copywriters.

Nothing like setting the bar impossibly high, right?

I needed to create a lead generation campaign targeted specifically to this company, and it needed to be so memorable, they wouldn’t be able to resist the chance to try me out.

I started by developing a concept, or big idea.

What sets a winning campaign apart from all the duds is a big idea that captures the imagination. I wanted my prospect to understand that I’m unique—1 in a million. But to be more precise, I found the number of freelance copywriters listed in LinkedIn, and called myself, “1 in 78,735.”

Now to prove it…

A digital campaign wasn’t going to cut it. But my campaign did need a digital component since this company leans heavily on VSLs (video sales letters).

I chose to create a physical mailer that illustrated my concept. In the box, I’d include a letter with a link to the VSL I’d create. Then I’d follow up with an email that had the link, just in case they didn’t have time to type in the URL I’d give them.

Building the campaign took time. And some creativity.

It’s easy to say you’re 1 in 78,735. But I wanted my prospect to “see” it. So, I set out to buy 78,735 toothpicks to illustrate the magnitude of that number.

I then needed 1 fancy pick to illustrate my services. I chose a cocktail pick with a gemstone head.

Next, I needed to find a box big enough to hold all of this… while still making a good visual presentation.

Then the letter would sit on top, explaining this big box with a small gift… and why they only needed to consider 1 copywriter—me.

That’s Stage 1 of the campaign.

Stage 2 was a micro-site that included a video of me explaining the concept and inviting my prospect to call me.

The video was just a few minutes long. Below it was my CTA: to call me.

But I gave my prospect a few other options too:

In case they weren’t ready to pick up the phone yet, they could request a Lead Magnet, which I created specifically for them
In case they didn’t want to watch the video, I included a link to a text-based landing page

Now, with everything built, it was time to execute.

I had already connected on LinkedIn with the person I wanted to send the box to. I messaged him to ask for his mailing address so I could send him a gift.

Then the day before the box should have arrived, I messaged him again to let him know it was coming.

Now came the waiting game…


At the end of the week, I messaged him again to see if he’d received the box. Turns out he had been out of the office that week. He told me he’d be back in the office on Monday.

More waiting…

I didn’t get a response right away, but I didn’t worry about it too much. I knew he was likely busy catching up on work. And I also knew there was a chance he hadn’t taken the time to sit down to open the URL I’d sent him.

Whether you’re targeting thousands of people or just 1 special prospect, your lead generation campaign needs to be memorable.

(That’s the biggest drawback of a physical campaign. Your prospect can’t click the URL to open it.)

So, on Thursday, I sent an email to follow up the campaign. Notice I didn’t message him in LinkedIn for this. In LinkedIn, we had developed a good rapport. Sending a marketing message could have messed that up.

Even more important, an email would let me show off my email writing skills… And marketing messages don’t feel out of place in your inbox.

What I sent was short and sweet.

Within 20 minutes, I had my response.


Whether you’re targeting thousands of people or just 1 special prospect, your lead generation campaign needs to be memorable.

If it looks like everything else they’re seeing, there’s no reason to choose you.

But if you create a campaign that sparks the imagination, intrigues, and leads your prospect a step at a time to choose you…

You can’t lose.

Brad Martineau, Co-Founder & CEO of SixthDivision

I approached this question a little differently than most people, for 1 main reason: I’m not really looking for home runs.

Instead, I’ve found that my business runs much smoother and much more efficiently when we focus on consistently hitting singles.

Don’t get me wrong—home runs are great.

But keep in mind, the baseball players who hit the most home runs almost never have the highest batting average. In other words: they strike out a lot, too.

And what I’ve found—and again this is just in my business—is that we score more “runs” overall when we forget about swinging for the fences and instead create a system that helps us to simply get on base over and over and over again.

It’s nothing fancy. It’s fundamental. But it works.

So, what does that mean, practically speaking?

It means getting back to the basics.

And when I say “the basics,” I mean doubling down on these core aspects of any successful business:

Creating a thing that people want
Positioning it in a way that they REALLY want it
Blowing the customer’s mind and over-delivering so they have an amazing experience
Automating the marketing and delivery as much as possible so we can repeat the process over and over while minimizing the cost and time involved

It’s nothing fancy. It’s fundamental. But it works.

And it works even better when you follow the process repeatedly, using it to improve your offer and your customer experience in an iterative fashion.

Many businesses don’t seem to understand the fact that you have to continually work on tweaking your offerings to keep them fresh and compelling. After all, markets change and evolve over time. The offer that excited people 3 years ago is NOT the same offer that’s going to excite them today.

One example of how we followed this process to improve our business in 2018 came from a presentation that I gave at an agency summit.

During this conference, I talked about a concept called “The Small Business Spine.” Basically, it was the idea of how you define and capture what your business is about in a way that really serves the business. It was geared primarily for new, small agencies.

This wasn’t the only thing I talked about. It was just 1 of many subjects that I covered in my presentation. But I noticed, as I talked about this Small Business Spine, that people really resonated with the idea.

Their eyes lit up. They sat up straighter and paid more attention. Asked more questions. These are all clues that you’ve hit a nerve, found something people are interested in.

So, what I did next was test out this idea by presenting on it a couple more times. I talked about it on calls, with business owners one-on-one, and finally, I gave a presentation at a live event. And every time I talked about The Small Business Spine, the response was really positive.

We had discovered something our audience really wants (#1 in the steps I described above).

So, what we did next was to create a training around The Small Business Spine and added it to our offer as a bonus. (This is Step #2, positioning.) And when we pitched this offer at the end of the live event, the response was tremendous: 22 out of 60 people took our offer for about $5,000 each.

From there, we worked our butts off to over-deliver on the product itself (Step #3). And when it became clear that this was something we wanted to continue doing, we began automating it as much as possible (Step #4).

They like and trust you more, which makes it easier to work together.

So that’s just 1 tiny example of this process in action. But we’ll go through these steps many times each year.

To apply this in your business, begin by paying attention to your audience—what gets them excited? What do they want more of?

When you identify those things, create a product or service around them and integrate it into your offer in the most compelling way you can.

And when you start doing this consistently, something really cool starts to happen: your offers begin to speak to the things your customers really want, which makes your customers feel like you really understand them. They like and trust you more, which makes it easier to work together.

This empowers our employees to do more work and handle more clients in less time—increasing our revenue at a fixed cost.

And that leads to some really great improvements in other areas of your business, like:

Increased customer satisfaction. (We document this, so this isn’t just a subjective observation—rather it’s a measurable improvement.)
Decreased workload and stress levels for the people doing the work. (Because your clients are happier, they’re easier to work with.)
Improved economic engine in your business.

The third bullet in that list comes from the automation side of things. Once we discover something new that works, we automate the marketing and delivery of it as much as possible. This empowers our employees to do more work and handle more clients in less time—increasing our revenue at a fixed cost.

And that’s how we create a system for consistently hitting singles in our business.

We may not hit as many home runs, but we don’t strike out, either. We’re keeping the bases loaded so a single is a run. And we’re constantly taking the next step forward in the growth and evolution of our business.

(NOTE: To help ensure you hit a digital marketing home run, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

Nathalie Lussier, Founder of AccessAlly

This past year, we successfully converted 80% of “started sales” into clients for our software.

At AccessAlly, we understand that buying software is a commitment and that people might get cold feet when signing up.

So we leverage abandoned cart functionality, and if someone doesn’t complete their order within a few hours of starting the process…

We kick off an email sequence, which starts off by asking if there were any technical problems during the ordering process.

According to stats collected by Moosend

45% of cart abandonment emails are opened
And from there 21% of people click-through
And 50% of these people complete their orders

Our stats differ a little with…

A 50% open rate for our abandoned cart emails
An 8% click-through rate
And 50% of these people completing their orders

We experimented with different variations of content in the follow-up emails to see if a different approach might increase response, too. It’s an ongoing refinement process!

We’re happy we’re able to follow up with people who are interested enough to start the purchasing process, whether they end up signing up within our abandoned cart email sequence or further down the line.

Seeing an 80% success rate for someone starting the checkout process means we can be confident that our ad spend and other marketing efforts aren’t sending people to a leaky bucket.

Especially when you look at stats that show that most websites have on average a 75% abandoned cart rate.

It’s a home run for our business many times over because once someone signs up they’re likely to be a customer for years to come and that ongoing revenue helps us grow!

Brett Curry, Co-Founder & CEO of OMG Commerce

YouTube ads gained considerable buzz in 2018.

Updated ad formats and new targeting options have propelled YouTube ads into the top 2-3 paid channels for many of our ecommerce clients.

In 2018, a huge win for us was targeting Custom Intent Audiences with TrueView for Action campaigns on YouTube. TrueView for Action campaigns utilize the YouTube pre-roll video ads that are skippable after 5 seconds.

This ad format is not new, but just in case it’s new to you, here’s how it works. As an advertiser, you only pay if someone actively engages with your ad by watching at least :30 seconds or by clicking through to your site.

TrueView for Action ads are a new spin on TrueView ads and are relatively new. It’s the same concept, but these ads also include strong CTA buttons around the video to encourage someone to take action.

Custom Intent Audiences are also pretty new. They allow you to combine the precision targeting of search ads with the selling power of video ads. These audiences are built based on someone’s search behavior on Google. Now you can build an audience of people who’ve recently searched on Google for keywords related to your product or service and then target them with your YouTube ads.

This audience type is consistently one of our top audiences in terms of performance. No surprise there. If you know what someone has been searching for on Google and you can then serve them a relevant YouTube ad, you’ve got a shot at sparking some interest in your products.

We’re often seeing cost per acquisition (CPA) in the $20-$50 range for these campaigns. And that conversion is an actual sale. When someone sees our YouTube ads and then purchases our widgets, we’re often paying $20-$50 per sale.

It allows us to scale our marketing efforts without a lot of waste.

While we often build dozens of custom intent audiences to test, it’s usually best to start with your top converting keywords from your search campaigns. For example, if you sell tankless water heaters and you actively run search ads on Google, take your top 50+ keywords and use them to build a custom intent audience.

So that list might include keywords like “tankless water heater,” “best tankless water heater,” “Tankless water heaters under $1,000,” etc.

OK, so how do you build it?

First, go to your Audience Manager under Tools in Google Ads.

Then under Custom Audiences chose to create a custom intent audience.

Then you’ll be prompted to paste in your top keywords.

The beauty of targeting this audience type on YouTube is that it allows us to scale our marketing efforts without a lot of waste.

The goal of any marketer is to find new customers at an acceptable CPA. When you can hit your CPA target and achieve some scale you can radically change your business.

For one of our ecommerce clients we got the following results from just 3 different Custom Intent Audiences during the summer of 2018:

2,414 unique purchases
Cost per conversion of $10.62, which was 43% better than our average for this account
Return on ad spend was 50% better than our goal

Audience targeting isn’t the only factor for success, but it’s arguably the most important factor. Serving the perfect ad to a bad prospect will never work. Serving a decent ad to the perfect prospect might work.

While every business is different and Custom Intent Audiences may not be your best YouTube Audience, you should definitely test them!

Mary Kathryn Johnson, Founder & CEO of Messenger Funnels

How many webinars do you actually attend after registering, let alone cause you to buy once you reach the CTA?

Webinars… many use them to sell, and many are tired of them.

So, we took a different approach to increase attendance, and hopefully sales, to our clients’ webinars through Messenger marketing by developing the Webinar ChatBot.

This is a marketing formula delivered in a chatbot, and it uses Facebook’s mission statement to full effect.

Instead of using a Facebook ad that leads to a landing page that collects an email registration to attend the webinar that delivers the webinar and sells us the thing, we turned that process on its head!

We start on the Facebook business page.

Okay, I hear your groan. Facebook has taken away our reach on our Facebook pages, right?! Well, we are getting it back!

Here is the general flow of this marketing funnel (visuals below)…

FB Live/IG post/Pin/YT Video → One Page Lead Magnet delivered in Messenger
Wait 30 seconds for prospect to consume the PDF
Ask if they want a second piece of free value, then deliver a second PDF
Ask if they heard about your amazing success with XYZ and if they want to hear more
Nurture with benefits to attend the webinar
Integrate with CRM to track conversions

Notice that we are giving value first. Social Media focused value, which means short video posts that lead to short, quickly consumable, high-value PDFs.

To implement this strategy, we have our clients go live once per week delivering 10 minutes or less of specific value on their Facebook business page that can be condensed into a one-page PDF we then deliver as a Lead Magnet in the ChatBot.

Think marketing, not advertising.

Think of the things your prospects are struggling with BEFORE they sign up for your course.

Something like… “The 3 things you should never do when starting your Amazon store, and what to do instead to start with a bang,” or maybe… “15 business startup mistakes and how to avoid them when starting your consulting practice.”

If we are all tired of the high cost of advertising to get people to our webinars, and we’re frustrated by the ever-shrinking conversions from those advertisements, we should actually be marketing to get prospects to attend, and this Webinar ChatBot formula does exactly that with amazing success!

We all know that attention spans are decreasing by the second, and being heard through the noise is one of our biggest marketing challenges, but we have found a way to get Facebook to generously help our clients get seen by their exact target audience.

The second most difficult marketing challenge is to get subscribers to stay and engage once they’ve found us, and Facebook willingly helps us with this one, too.

An example of this is our client Alison J. Prince, who sells a $997 course called 0-100K, which helps people start an ecommerce business. Alison had been very successful with the Facebook advertising webinar model and sold $1MM worth of her course in about 10 months using Facebook ads.

When we turned on this Webinar Chatbot marketing formula in January 2018, within 8 weeks Alison was consistently converting an average of 30 sales of her course each week, and at the height of her momentum, she sold $1MM in 99 days through this Webinar ChatBot.

She is still converting an average of 20 sales per week after almost a year of using this formula every week.

Here’s a general overview of her ManyChat Webinar ChatBot…

So, how does Facebook help us with that marketing challenge of being heard above the digital noise?

When our clients go live on their business page and offer a PDF in exchange for becoming a subscriber, Facebook sees the engagement on that post in the form of comments, because we use the comment tool in Messenger to translate that comment into a subscriber.

Remember Facebook’s mission statement… connecting people and engagement…? That is how Facebook generously helps our clients with their business page post reach.

In the first few weeks of implementing this new marketing formula, our clients boost their Live posts, and Facebook consistently gives them 50% or more organic reach because of the engagement that already exists on that post.

One client is getting 75% organic reach from Facebook!

OK, I hear you calling me out on the advertising angle. To be clear, not all clients need to boost posts, but when they do we’re only talking a hundred bucks, not tens of thousands of dollars per month.

The post boost just helps our clients gain that momentum.

So, what about that second obstacle to webinar marketing success… getting subscribers to stay engaged, attend the webinar and buy?

Consistent value delivery and the high open and CTR of Facebook Messenger are the answers to that.

Having implemented this formula since January 2018, we have gathered some pretty impressive statistics of subscriber behavior. For instance, we know that it takes 2.8 times watching a Facebook Live and opting in for that corresponding Lead Magnet before a subscriber becomes a customer (in other words, before they buy from the webinar).

That means the subscriber consumes the value from up to 3 Facebook Lives and 3 PDFs before they decide to trust that this expert can deliver exactly what they need through the course.

Not only that, since these Facebook Lives are evergreen on your business page, your audience can discover the exact content that speaks to their specific issues months after you initially recorded and published it.

Remember that attention span issue?

Well, we have also found that the most highly engaged people spend hours on our clients’ Facebook business pages scanning the valuable content before they find the specific Facebook Live with the PDF they need that was published 8 months ago, and they opt-in to start their journey with this expert.

Ralph Burns, CEO of Tier 11

2018 has been a big year for us at Tier 11. And while we’ve had a lot of home runs in a lot of areas, the biggest game-changer for us was the creation of our Ecomm Ad Amplifier™ (EAA) Facebook marketing framework.

As a Facebook ad agency spending millions each month on behalf of our clients, we’re always looking for new ways to scale up Facebook campaigns while maintaining (or even improving) the return on ad spend (ROAS). And when we hit on the system that eventually turned into the EAA, I knew we had found something special.

Here’s what the EAA looks like:

In a nutshell, the EAA is a system that we use to remarket to people based on their depth of engagement.

So if someone engages with our ad but doesn’t visit the website, they’re saved as a Level 2 audience. We retarget them with educational videos, product ads, product carousels, and testimonial videos.

Or if they add a product to their cart, we save them as a Level 4 audience and remarket to them using Dynamic Product Ads and click-to-Messenger ads.

The reason why the EAA works so well is because it’s efficient.

At every step along the funnel, we’re creating a new audience and retargeting those people with the best ad formats and messaging for their location in the Customer Value Journey.

Which means that nobody falls out of the marketing funnel, and everybody sees an ad that’s perfectly suited to where they are in the buying process.

The other awesome thing about the EAA is that it isn’t a one-off success. We didn’t just get lucky and hit a big home run here. Instead, we created a system that we can use to hit home run after home run—predictably and consistently.

You can apply the EAA framework to any Facebook campaign and it will help you to do 2 things:

Scale up (AKA generate more sales and revenue)
Get more efficient (AKA improve your ROAS)

And to prove that, I’m going to share our results using the EAA for 3 separate clients in 3 completely different industries:

Client #1 sells bath products—relatively simple items retailing for around $20-$60.

When they came to us they were spending $5,000/month on Facebook ads and generating a 2x ROAS. Not bad, but we saw the potential for a lot of improvement.

So we used the EAA to build out and scale up their campaigns, and as a result, they’re now spending $20,000-$50,000/month with a much higher ROAS (5.8x).

Increase in scale: 4-10x
Improvement in ROAS: 2.9x

Client #2 sells a hair growth product with a $700 price tag. Initially, they were spending $30,000/month with a 2.0x ROAS.

Using the EAA, we were able to improve that to $160,000/month with a 2.7x ROAS.

Increase in scale: 5.3x
Improvement in ROAS: 1.4x

Client #3 sells powered health drinks like green juice smoothies and protein powder. When this client approached us, they were spending $30,000/month with a 0.25x ROAS after 30 days.

(Their product involves a monthly recurring subscription, so they don’t need to break even on their ad spend right away.)

And after implementing the EAA, we helped them scale up to $570,000/month in spend with a 1.1x ROAS after 30 days. A huge improvement that absolutely transformed their business.

Increase in scale: 19x
Improvement in ROAS: 4.4x

To sum it up, the EAA is a proven system that’s modular enough to be effective for every Facebook advertiser.

So if you’re having trouble scaling up your campaigns, give the Ecommerce Ad Amplifier™ a try—I’m confident it will be a game-changer for you.

Rachel Miller, Organic Traffic Strategist, Moolah

We created a Facebook group in 2017, but in 2018 we invested in that Facebook group—supporting it with content and retargeting group members with content from our page.

(RELATED: 5 Types of Community-Building Content DigitalMarketer Used to Engage an 11K+ Member Facebook Group)

Our goal was to build community in a BIG way. And we did. We gave often and asked for nothing in return. We made getting our community members results our priority.

And we were doing it all for FREE.

The result? We saw the numbers of members in our group rise, but more than that, we saw the number of conversations rise.

Not only that, by increasing the conversations in our community, we saw a direct increase in the number of sales and a decrease in the cost per acquisition of each of those sales. We saw a 53% increase on purchases as well as a significant drop in our cost per acquisition ($9 decrease in cost to acquire a customer).

Conversations are what sells. The more conversations you can have with potential buyers, the more they will trust you, the more they will buy from you.

So how’d we do it? How’d we increase our conversations with our members?

The more conversations you can have with potential buyers, the more they will trust you, the more they will buy from you.

We added an onboarding process to our group. This helped…

Establish patterns in our members
Demonstrate how they can start conversations in the group
Get members to begin interacting with each other as they entered the group

Our onboarding sequence also helped Facebook realize the priority that our group content should have in their feeds as new members engaged with multiple pieces of our content as soon as they entered the group. This meant that our group had a more relevant affinity to the user on Facebook and increased our deliverability of content into their feeds.

These were all-organic placements!

Seeing the power of conversations on organic reach is HUGE!

Josh Turner, Founder & CEO of LinkedSelling

LinkedIn ads in general, for our business and our clients, have really made major strides in the past year. Specifically, a big home run has been retargeting visitors to core pages of our website through Sponsored Inmail.

(RELATED: 3 Tips to Set Up a Retargeting Campaign in 24 Hours (Even if You Have Never Heard of Retargeting Before))

When we have a site visitor that has checked out our Services Page or our Contact Us page but they didn’t purchase or book a call, we automate a Sponsored InMail through LinkedIn ads to reach out and repitch the offer for a consultation call.

This approach has resulted in us spending under $30 for each high-quality lead booking an appointment with a member of our sales team.

This is low-hanging fruit that everyone using LinkedIn Ads should add to their playbook.

Its effectiveness is partially due to a Sponsored InMail showing at the top of your audience’s inbox the next time they log in to LinkedIn. It includes a CTA button and banner ad.

If you are targeting high-ticket prospects and want to automate a personal retargeting strategy—look no further than LinkedIn Ads and create a Sponsored Inmail Retargeting campaign.

So…  find a good strategy in here to use in your 2019 initiatives? We hope so!

Here’s to another prosperous and successful new year!

(NOTE: To help ensure you hit a digital marketing home run, you need to know who your ideal customer is, where they are, and what they will buy. Download our FREE proven Customer Avatar Worksheet now and get clear on who you’re selling to.)

The post 14 Digital Marketing Experts Share Their Marketing Home Run of 2018 appeared first on DigitalMarketer.


Optimizing Mobile Forms for More Conversions—and a Competitive Advantage

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Done right, optimized mobile forms can deliver more than an increased conversion rate: They can become a competitive advantage—a reason users choose to fill out a form on your site.

It’s not hyperbole. Consider the number of interactions it takes to book a room on Hotel Tonight compared to its competitors, something Luke Wroblewski highlighted in his talk on mobile design:

“Booking a hotel happens in 3 taps and a swipe. This is a competitive advantage,” claimed Sam Shank, the CEO of Hotel Tonight.

For Hotel Tonight, the solution to mobile-form optimization was to “ruthlessly edit. Even when you have the slimmest funnel, cut again.”

Reducing form fields usually works, but, like every “best practice,” it’s not a guarantee. (Indeed, there may be times when increasing form fields boosts conversion rates.)

What follows is a mobile-specific framework for form optimization:

Key differences between the mobile and desktop UI
Form-wide considerations
Field-specific considerations
Tools to measure form performance

(If you’re new to form optimization, start here. If you really want to get into the weeds, consider Tom New’s course at CXL Institute.)

1. Key differences between the mobile and desktop UI

Three key UI differences create challenges for mobile-form design:

1. Aspect ratio. About 80–90% of smartphone use occurs in portrait orientation, which makes width a precious commodity: There’s more vertical space, and vertical scrolling is more intuitive.

In addition, of course, the screen size is smaller compared to tablets and desktops, making it less likely that your entire form will fit on the screen without scrolling.

2. Touchscreen navigation. There’s no mouse, and smartphone users with a stylus are in the minority. A touchscreen places added demands on the size and spacing of elements. It also means that there’s no hover state in which to add helpful information.

3. Limited keyboard. Smartphones have a limited keyboard—and an inconsistent one. Those factors justify careful consideration of which keyboard to show for which field and whether to enable (or disable) automated functions, like auto-capitalize.

These UI differences add to existing challenges—mobile users already represent a hurried, less-tolerant segment of users. Mobile conversion rates still lag behind those on desktop devices, though the conversion gap continues to close on segments of traffic, like email.

2. Form-wide considerations
Single-column design

In a previous research study, we found that single-column forms enabled faster completion compared to multi-column ones:

In our internal study, survey participants completed the linear, single-column form an average of 15.4 seconds faster than the multi-column form.

That gap in time-to-completion is almost certainly greater on mobile devices, which prioritize vertical scrolling.

Multi-step forms

Multi-step forms have the potential to eliminate scrolling entirely by fitting each form section within the smartphone window. They have added benefits for long forms:

Information can be saved after each step, making follow-up easier for form-abandoners and avoiding potential user frustration from a total loss of input caused by an accidental click or loss of connectivity.
They chunk segments of the form to reduce the cognitive load. For long forms, this can make the process seem less intimidating.

Image source

Multi-step forms come at a cost, however: Every step requires another page load—and load times may lag if your visitor doesn’t have a great connection (whether they live on a farm or pass through a subway tunnel).

Font size

A 16px font size is standard for body copy on mobile devices. Smaller (or larger) font sizes may cause issues, especially for those with visual impairments.

An NNGroup report on sizes, based on research from MIT, offers caveats for text elements that require only a brief “glance”—one to two words in isolation, like “Phone number” or “Street address.”

The MIT study, which measured reading speed, compared two font sizes (10px and 8px) as well as different cases and letter widths. Their findings offer baseline recommendations for smaller-than-average text:

Don’t use a font size below 10px.
Use all caps.
Maintain standard lettering width.

An MIT study on font sizes found that all-caps, standard-width letters were easier to read. (Image source)
Touch-target size

Small buttons risk imprecision on the part of the user or the device. Touch-targets for mobile devices have minimum size recommendations. Per Steven Hoober, the minimum size grows larger as the target moves away from the center of the screen, where user taps are most accurate:

7 mm in the center of the screen.
9 mm along the edges.
12 mm in the corners.

Material Design Accessibility guidelines offer a similar recommendation: 7–10mm for touch targets. (Convert to other units here.)

Touch-target sizes should increase with the button’s distance from the center of the screen. (Image source)

Notably, visible buttons or icons may be smaller than the touch targets, but the size of the touch targets should cover the minimum area, even if the icon or button doesn’t fill the space.

As far as padding between touch targets—again, not the visible buttons but the invisible touch targets surrounding them—Material Design guidelines recommend a minimum of 1.3 mm.

Total form fields

As noted earlier, conventional form wisdom suggests that fewer form fields yield more conversions because each field increases friction.

Since filling out a form is less convenient on a mobile device—keyboards are smaller and partial, touch is less precise than a mouse click—the reasons that removing form fields usually works on any device are, presumably, more true for smartphones. (That logic won’t bail you out of testing.)

Some pre-conversion form fields can be moved rather removed:

Account creation. Account creation is a common source of friction that is unnecessary for purchase. “Thank you” pages can help solve that challenge by:

Moving form fields from a checkout process to a post-purchase phase.
Asking only past purchasers to create an account that eases repeat purchasing.
Prepopulating fields with information from the just-completed sale.

CAPTCHA. Consider replacing a CAPTCHA with email confirmation; the semi-scrutable lettering may be wholly inscrutable on mobile, and an email confirmation may be equally effective at ignoring spam entries.

Form deployment

In 2017, Google began demoting “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results.” These pages blocked their “main” content with pop-ups, or interstitials, which are often lead-generation forms:

Image source

Google defines three acceptable types of interstitials:

Those that inform users of cookie usage.
Those that require age verification.
Those that use “a reasonable amount of screen space.”

Any form optimization effort that ignores Google’s guidelines risks cutting off a supply of users to fill those forms, irrespective of their conversion rate.

3. Field-specific considerations

The automated features of smartphones offer risk and reward. HTML tags toggle automated features on and off based on the input field:

Autocorrect. Autocorrect may mistakenly correct information in fields with proper nouns (e.g. name, address).
Auto-capitalize. Auto-capitalize saves users effort for name and address fields but should be disabled for password fields.
Autocomplete or autofill. Autocomplete may be useful for finishing a known email address, but it may erroneously try to complete an order number with a phone number, or vice versa. You can offer hints in the code (e.g. autocomplete=”address-line1″) to increase the accuracy of autofill. (A zip code can also autofill the city and state—as long as users retain the ability to edit the occasional error.)

Autofill can save users time if deployed correctly. (Image source)

Autodetection. Asking for the credit card type is unnecessary; autodetection identifies the credit card based on the first four numbers, requiring form fillers to complete one less task.
Location detection. Location detection can identify the user’s country (at a minimum) or, using Google’s Places API or another geolocation API, a more specific place, like the nearest airport. Time your request for location information carefully—if you request access before users see the relevance, they may decline.

An option to use the current location or enter information manually offers users choice. (Image source)

Luke Wroblewski refers to dropdowns as a “UI of last resort;” research shows that mobile forms with dropdowns take longer to complete. That’s because mobile dropdowns:

Require more interactions.
Obscure user choices.

There are other options:

Steppers. A +/– set of controls can be grouped together or separated by the element label. Steppers work well for quantities that have a reasonable upper bound, like hotel or airline reservations. (Site visitors rarely book rooms or flights for more than a few people.)

Image source

Segments. When the options are limited, a segmented control allows a user to see all available choices at once:

Image source

Sliders. Sliders can be used for large ranges or those with a Min-Max variable:

Date pickers. A calendar picker, rather than a drop-down list of days, months, and years, can reduce the total number of taps. (Unless you’re asking for a date of birth—clicking back decades in a calendar would be an ordeal.)

The same research study that found that dropdowns slowed form completion also found that a single date picker—despite requiring fewer total interactions—slowed form completion, too. Two separate date pickers (for start and end dates) resulted in faster task completion:

Image source

Notably, Luke Wroblewski’s study found the opposite effect—a single date picker worked better. (Takeaways: Not all date pickers are created equal; users vary; a single study is not immutable truth; the better option is the one that wins a test on your site.)

For added post-selection clarity, consider displaying the total time and days of the week the user has selected:

Image source

For large ranges that are a bad fit for the aforementioned alternatives—like a U.S. user’s state—predictive input fields (a form of autocomplete) can quickly narrow down a long list after a user enters the first letter or two.

Field masks

Field masks can help reduce errors and speed up form completion by displaying the proper format for a response that could have many formats, like a telephone or credit card number:

The field mask displays the proper format as soon as the user enters the field. (Image source)

Masks can also ignore invalid inputs (e.g. a slash in a credit-card number) and reduce the urge to split fields for the sake of data validation (e.g. making a phone number three separate fields). Moving between fields, especially ones with small touch targets, is cumbersome on mobile devices.

As Luke Wroblewski argues, masks should also:

Be visible from the start. If the mask reveals gradually, users are still guessing from input to input if they’re on the right track.
Not include placeholder text. Doing so may cause users to skip over a field because it appears pre-filled. An outline of the expected input, such as “(     )      –          ” can set expectations while also clearly looking incomplete. If you use placeholder text, an obviously incorrect response “(XXX) XXX-XXXX” may cause fewer users to skip over it.

Placeholder text is not a replacement for a form label since it disappears once a user starts typing, forcing them to rely on their short-term memory for form-field identification, which becomes more challenging if the field later returns an error.

Field labels

The condensed space on a mobile device makes easy-to-read field labels essential. The aspect ratio alone (portrait instead of landscape) effectively mandates labels above rather than beside form fields. Otherwise, almost any entry would require horizontal scrolling to see the label and entry field at the same time.

One solution is a floating label, implemented via CSS or JavaScript. The form label initially appears inside the field in larger type (increasing readability while saving space), then migrates above the field (in smaller type) as soon as the user taps it:

The solution preserves screen space while also maintaining a persistent field label.

Field-specific keyboards

Since its release in 2014, HTML5 has allowed developers to define the input type (e.g. “email,” “tel,” “datetime,” etc.) to return an appropriate mobile keyboard when a user taps into the field.

Keyboard types offer obvious (a number pad for phone numbers) and subtle (the inclusion of the “@” symbol for email addresses) conveniences.

Default keyboard types for “tel” and “email” inputs, respectively. Note the inclusion of the “@” symbol for email inputs.
In-line validation

On most mobile forms, users can’t see the entire form; vertical scrolling is necessary to see all fields. That makes real-time, in-line validation—a best practice for forms on any device—more important.

Descriptive text—instead of simple green or red highlighting—helps users correct the error quickly and ensures accessibility for visually impaired users.

If users need to scroll to the top of the form to see errors, then scroll back down to the specific field, they may get lost or frustrated and give up.

Other optimizations

Form autofocus. Autofocus, another HTML5 attribute, highlights the current input field, making it easier for users to see which field they’re working in.

Suggestive field sizing. Sizing fields relative to the length of the anticipated input (e.g. a longer field for a street address compared to a zip code) offers a subtle reminder to users about input expectations.

Disabling the submit button. After a user taps to submit a form or complete a purchase, disabling buttons prevents an accidental click that may cause resubmission or navigate the user offsite before the conversion completes.

4. Tools to measure form performance

Granular measurement helps identify trouble spots within forms:

Which parts of the form take users the longest to complete?
At which point do users most often abandon the form?

Those trouble spots, in turn, allow for smarter testing. Google Tag Manager (GTM) is capable of tracking many aspects of form submissions through six built-in form variables:

Form Classes: gtm.elementClasses
Form Element: gtm.element
Form ID: gtm.elementId
Form Target: gtm.elementTarget
Form Text: gtm.elementText

Simo Ahava has published several guides on how to track form submissions through GTM, including:

User input entries for radio buttons, drop-down selections, checkboxes, etc.
Time to completion for an entire form or on a field-by-field basis.
Form abandonment.

During a recent (statistically insignificant) discussion on form analytics in our Facebook group, Formisimo was the preferred paid option, with an entry point of around $500 per month. Formisimo also has a higher-priced enterprise counterpart, Zuko.

Additional tools that track a more limited set of form analytics include Clicktale and Hotjar, among others.


Mobile forms restrict user interactions—there’s no mouse, an incomplete keyword, and a smaller, vertical screen. Those limitations make an intuitive and efficient user experience more important and, at times, more challenging to deliver.

But they also make some choices easier; not every form “optimization” needs to be tested. Delivering the appropriate keyboard for the appropriate field is a clear win. So, too, is a reasonably sized touch target or the use of a field mask to reject invalid inputs. Those UX improvements are an immediate opportunity for all sites, not just high-traffic ones.

Like all online efforts, form optimization is not a static discipline. Newer features like Touch ID, facial recognition, or photo scans of credit cards promise streamlined interactions at a critical juncture that, every year, occurs more frequently on mobile devices.

The post Optimizing Mobile Forms for More Conversions—and a Competitive Advantage appeared first on CXL.