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#SproutChat Calendar: Upcoming Topics for February 2017

It’s hard to believe that we’re days away from February 2017! We hope that you’re progressing toward your goals quickly by taking the time to read, learn and connect with industry colleagues. #SproutChat is the perfect place to gain new insight and keep your social strategies moving forward. Just jump on Twitter every Wednesday from 2-3 p.m. CST to learn and share best practices about social media marketing and community building.

Check out the topics we’ll cover this month and be sure to click “Add to Calendar” for the weekly Twitter chats that you don’t want to miss. Are none of the discussions catching your eye? Feel free to discuss your own social media wins and pain points in our Facebook community.

February 1, 2017: Managing Social Media on the Go

Sprout Product Focus: Mobile App

Consumers expect quick responses via social media. That means social media managers must be present and responsive 24/7. How can they maintain this level of service? With great mobile apps, of course. Join us for a discussion about best practices for managing social on the go.

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February 8, 2017: How to Grow Your Business

Getting a business up and running is one thing, but maintaining and growing it is another. Join us for an insightful #SproutChat discussion with Sprout All Star and Owner of Social Media Unicorn, Krista Whitley. Krista joins our discussion with years of experience and expertise in growing her Las Vegas-based agency and personal brand.

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February 15, 2017: Discussing Marketing Success With Evernote

Social media marketers have a plethora of tools in their tool box. One of the tools many marketers rely on to nurture and share ideas and increase productivity for their team is Evernote. This week, Lolitta Gevorkova, Social Media Specialist at Evernote, will be joining our discussion to talk about getting the most out of Sprout’s platform and what quantifies as success on social.

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February 22, 2017: Creating a Good Video

If you haven’t caught on that video needs to be an essential component of your social media strategy, you’ve been living under a rock. So why aren’t more brands embracing video content? When it comes to video and social there are definitely challenges ranging from quality to consistency. Today, we’ll discuss common challenges and offer solutions for producing more effective video content.

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This post #SproutChat Calendar: Upcoming Topics for February 2017 originally appeared on Sprout Social.

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Ensure Bing Ads Are Part Of Your PPC Efforts

Did you know that Bing accounts for roughly 1/3 of the paid advertising search market at 31%? To be a comprehensive paid search marketer you have to be on Bing.


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Pinterest, Sargento Kick Off Pinterest MVPP: Most Valuable Party Planner Microsite

Pinterest created something to do with the 8 million football party ideas and 58 million football ideas users have saved prior to Super Bowl LI Feb. 5.

The social network developed the Pinterest MVPP: Most Valuable Party Planner microsite, sponsored by Sargento, which enables users to create custom boards with Super Sunday recipes, tips and fashion suggestions, just by answering a few questions.

Visitors to the Pinterest MVPP are asked whether they are a rookie or pro at party planning; if their style is “can’t beat the classics” or “let’s shake things up”; and whether they are rooting for the New England Patriots or Atlanta Falcons.

Pinterest then uses its Pinterest API (application-programming interface) to curate custom content and add profile details including names and photos.


Sargento senior digital marketing manager Cami Schenck said in a Pinterest for Business blog post:

Partnering with Pinterest for one of the biggest entertaining events of the year helps us bring more value to consumers. Party planners go to Pinterest first to find the perfect game-day dishes, and we want to help fans create the best “homegating” experience using delicious serving ideas and recipes from Sargento.

Alastair Cotterill, global head of The Studio at Pinterest, spoke with Lauren Johnson of SocialTimes parent Adweek, saying:

We started looking at our insights and saw the different things that people come to Pinterest to plan and get inspired in advance. For sports events, they tend to come about a week before.

This is a trend that we’re working with lots of brands on—how to create experiences that make sense with how people are using Pinterest but also ones that are personalized and tailored.

In terms of driving people to the experience, Sargento wanted Promoted Pins, and we also have some media outside of Pinterest. Sargento has a broader campaign that this is part of.

Readers: Will you use Pinterest to help plan your party for the “Big Game?”

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Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative acquires AI-powered search engine Meta

The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, the $45 billion philanthropic organisation founded by Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, has made its first acquisition – of a search engine.

The Initiative announced on Monday that it would be acquiring Meta, a scientific search engine that uses artificial intelligence to make connections between research papers.

The search start-up, which was founded in 2010, previously charged some users for subscriptions or custom solutions, but the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative intends to make it free to all after spending a few months enhancing the product.

The Meta search engine is designed to make it easier for researchers to search through, read and link together more than 26 million scientific papers. It also provides free, full-text access to some 18,000 journals and sources of literature.

Meta’s artificial intelligence capabilities allow it to draw connections between papers, recognising where authors and citations overlap in order to surface the most important and relevant research – rather than just what contains the right keywords. It provides an efficient and intuitive way to sort through reams of online studies and locate the most useful papers, in a way that more conventional search engines like Google Scholar can’t replicate.

If all of this sounds familiar, that might be because you’ve heard it before. Semantic Scholar is also a free, AI-powered search engine aimed at helping scientists to sift through mountains of research, using data mining, natural language processing and computer vision to analyse a study’s worth and present its key elements.

Semantic Scholar is also backed by a non-profit organisation: the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence, or AI2 for short. The search engine was developed by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, in conjunction with AI2 and in collaboration with Allen’s other research foundation, the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

Semantic Scholar was only launched last November, while Meta has been around since 2010. Until now, the fact that Semantic Scholar was free to use might have given it an edge, but the intervention of the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative could change all that.

So which search engine will emerge victorious? Both have the backing of heavyweights in the technology industry – Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, and Microsoft’s Paul Allen. Both use artificial intelligence to open up access to scientific research in a whole new way, and both are soon to be free to all.

Semantic Scholar’s field is also quite narrow still, currently only covering 10 million published papers in the fields of neuroscience, biomedicine and computer science. However, it has a huge amount of potential and has grown quickly in the two months since its launch, with 2.5 million people using the service to perform millions of searches.

Maybe the question should be: are the two search engines even competitors? Oren Etzioni, the CEO of AI2, has already refuted the idea that Semantic Scholar would attempt to compete with Google Scholar, saying that their goal is just to “raise the bar” and provide scientists with more effective options to carry out their research. They may take the same view towards Meta, opting to work with the other company for the ultimate benefit of the scientific community.

For the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, Meta is just one step towards their larger goal of helping to “cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century”. Sam Molyneux, the co-founder and CEO of Meta, wrote in his own announcement on Facebook that,

“Helping scientists will produce a virtuous cycle, as they develop new tools that in turn unlock additional opportunities for faster advancement. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s recognition of this “meta” effect is why Meta can be a key piece of the puzzle to enable the future of human health that we believe to be possible within this century.”

Regardless of whether Meta and Semantic Scholar will be competitors or collaborators, one thing seems certain: artificial intelligence has unlocked a whole new set of possibilities for the way that we engage with scientific research, and there’s no doubt that we will benefit from it.

Whatever happens next, it’s going to be exciting.

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Release Notes: Bringing the Data with AWeber Stats 2.1

How do you know if your email marketing strategy is effective?

With data, of course. Sweet, sweet data.

Fortunately, viewing the performance of your emails just got a heck of a lot easier.

Discover what’s working with AWeber Stats 

Our recent release of AWeber Stats 2.1 – the ultimate email marketing analytics app – brings all-new data visualizations to help you understand the performance of your emails and identify opportunities to optimize them.

“When we set out to improve the Stats experience, we spent a lot of time listening to the needs of email marketers,” says AWeber’s product manager, Meghan Nesta.

“At first, we encountered a desire to learn more about email marketing performance by bubbling up key data points. Our customers are busy entrepreneurs. They don’t have time to pour through every nook and cranny of their analytics,” she adds. “With Stats, we’re elevating the right information so you don’t have to dig for it.”

Stats App 2.1 Screenshot

What’s new?

For this recent release, we incorporated the feedback we heard from email marketers and customers. As a result, the team primarily focused on overhauling the presentation of Broadcast stats.

View more key metrics at-a-glance

From the moment you open the Stats app, you can see essential email marketing metrics right away.

Simply tap the Broadcast icon, and you’ll get a glimpse of list-level stats like open and click-through rates for all sent broadcasts. You’ll also see the percentage of complaints and bounces for those emails.

As you continue scrolling, you can view more detailed metrics for individual broadcasts, including the total number of subscribers who received the email, send time, open rate, click-through rate and percentage of complaints.

And with that kind of juicy data, you can extract important insights about what’s working and what isn’t working in your emails – and more importantly, figure out ways to get your subscribers more engaged with your content. 

If you notice your open rates decreasing, for example, that might mean it’s time to test a new approach to writing subject lines.

Or if you have a low click-through rate, you may want to try changing the color of your call-to-action button.

You might also like14 powerful tactics to increase your email click-through rates.

Understand where subscribers are opting out

The latest updates to Stats 2.1 also allows you to easily view the total number of unsubscribes by list and individual broadcasts sent. Viewing your open and click-through rates alongside your unsubscribe data will help you best understand what content your customers are engaging with, and what content is causing others to opt-out of your emails.

“No one likes unsubscribe stats,” Meghan says. “Seeing how many people opted-out can be a bummer, but we know that learning from the emails that people didn’t like is one of the most effective ways to tweak your strategy and send awesome emails that’ll delight your audience.”

[bctt tweet=”Tweak your #email strategy by learning from what subscribers didn’t like. – @mjnesta” via=”yes”]

One powerful tactic that’ll allow you to send relevant and contextual emails subscribers will love? Segmentation.  

You can segment subscribers based on links they’ve clicked or messages they’ve opened. You can even create segments based on which emails subscribers didn’t open, or more specific attributes like geographical location or custom field selections.

If you find that a particular email didn’t garner a significant number of opens, for example, you might re-send an email to a segment of subscribers that didn’t open the email – but with a different subject line.

Find trends, test changes

Using Stats, you’ll be able to quickly find trends and performance indicators.

Perhaps you notice messages sent at a certain time perform better than others, or that differences in your subject lines yield higher open rates. Or maybe emails that promote certain products have higher click-through rates, while emails without a strong call to action yield unsubscribes.

You’ll never know until you dig into the data, and with the Stats app, you’ll be able to demystify your email analytics and identify opportunities to improve performance that can help grow your business. 

Need a few ideas to tweak your emails after you’ve learned more about its performance?

Check out our 18 tried-and-true ways to improve your email content, and learn how to keep your subscribers engaged. Whether it’s writing a more compelling call-to-action, or including interactive elements like GIFs or video thumbnails, you’ll be sure to find some ideas to make your stats shine.

Download Stats today

While I’ve only highlighted our latest updates, the AWeber Stats app also includes subscriber details, follow up stats, the ability to preview sent and scheduled broadcasts and much more.

If you’re an AWeber customer, check out Stats for free on Android or iOS. Simply install the app on your phone or tablet, log in with your AWeber username and password and get instant access to all of your data.

Not an AWeber customer? Sign up for a 30-day free trial so you can take advantage of our AWesome email marketing features such as email automation, subscriber segmentation, and of course, Stats 2.1!

The post Release Notes: Bringing the Data with AWeber Stats 2.1 appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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4 Ways to Avoid Google’s Mobile Sign Up Form Penalty

Earlier this month, Google launched an update that has the potential to decrease your website traffic and limit the number of people who see your sign up forms and subscribe to your email lists.

Now, websites with intrusive mobile interstitials (aka sign up forms) displaying on mobile devices may see lower rankings in Google search results.

Since organic traffic accounts for up to 64 percent of website visits and 33 percent of people click on the first listing in Google search results, this update could significantly impact your website traffic.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about the update. Plus, get four tactics you can use to avoid the penalty and continue collecting new subscribers from mobile devices.

Everything you need to know about Google’s mobile interstitial penalty

On January 10, 2017, Google made the following announcement on their Webmaster blog: “Starting today, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high.”

According to Google, they’ll penalize forms that interrupt or impede mobile users from consuming the content on your site. The purpose of the update is to make websites more accessible to mobile users, who account for 51.3 percent of internet usage worldwide.

[bctt tweet=”Google now penalizes websites with forms that interrupt mobile users from consuming site content.”]

Here’s an image Google shared in their post that shows what forms they consider intrusive and may penalize:


As this image shows, there are certain types of forms that would be affected by this:

  • Pop up forms that cover the main content of a page
  • Slide in forms that cover the main content of a page
  • Full page forms that completely cover the content on a page
  • Page takeover forms that need to be dismissed before a user can see content

To avoid Google’s penalty, you should not display any of these forms for your mobile site visitors.

[bctt tweet=”Don’t use pop up, slide in or full page mobile forms that cover the main content of your website.”]

You can, however, still use these types of forms on desktop devices without the risk of being penalized.

Although this rule has some well-intentioned email marketers up in arms, the sad reality is that not everyone uses these types of forms to help and educate visitors. Too often, these intrusive forms are difficult or impossible to exit out of, or don’t deliver content visitors would actually want. (I’ve seen many of these types of intrusive forms – ones that block content, take forever to load and can’t be easily dismissed –in recent months.)

To ensure you don’t run the risk of getting penalized, all you have to do is turn off those forms for mobile device users. Many sign up form builders (such as SumoMe and OptinMonster) allow you to target forms based on the device from which people are accessing your site. And that makes it fairly simple to ensure you’re abiding by Google’s new policy.

While you may be worrying about how this will hurt your list growth, this update doesn’t end your ability to display sign up forms to mobile site visitors and collect subscribers. There are still plenty of non-intrusive ways to show your forms without being penalized by Google.

Four ways to avoid Google’s penalty

1. Use top or bottom bar forms

Top or bottom bar sign up forms avoid the Google penalty because they do not cover the content on your website. Instead, they are located either at the top or bottom of a web page and follow users down the page as they scroll.

The advantage of this type of form over a pop up is that it can’t be dismissed or closed by the user. It also creates a much better user experience.

For example, TwelveSkip uses a sign up form at the top of their blog post pages:


The form catches your eye with its vibrant color and sticks at the top of the page as you scroll down. It’s also responsive, meaning that it resizes to fit the screens of mobile users.

2. Add embedded forms to your site

When compared to pop up forms, embedded forms often get the bad reputation of not earning high conversion rates. The fear is that because these forms don’t block a visitor from reading content, they may not capture people’s attention and encourage them to opt in to their email list.

However, there are ways to make your embedded forms stand out and capture email addresses. And by using these forms, you won’t have to worry about getting penalized by Google since these aren’t restricted.

All you have to do is make sure the design, copy and location are optimized for success.

Take a look at this embedded form on DigitalMarketer’s home page:


While this form is embedded into the page content, it’s the first thing you see because it’s at the very top of the page and uses a bright blue and green color scheme to capture attention.

So while poorly designed embedded forms may not gather many subscribers, using contrasting colors and good placement can turn embedded forms into a subscriber magnet.

[optin-monster-shortcode id=”p1ybp2w6h2juxuhs”]

3. Create click-to-open forms

Another form type that doesn’t interrupt a user from consuming the content on your website? Click-to-open forms. With this type of form, website visitors must click a link or button in order to expand the full sign up form.

For example, SumoMe includes this link to access their secret strategy at the bottom of a blog post:


When you click on the link, this form opens up:


While this is a more subtle way to add a sign up form to your page, there are psychological studies that support their effectiveness. A study from Stanford, for example, found that people are more likely to meet a larger demand after completing a small request.

When you apply that behavior to our click-to-trigger forms, the “small request” is clicking on the link and the “larger demand” is subscribing to an email list. Because people are more likely to do something once they’ve committed themselves, click-to-trigger forms are ideal for convincing people to follow through.

4. Show an exit-intent form before subscribers leave

While exit-intent forms often cover content by popping up on the screen or taking over the page, Google doesn’t consider them intrusive.

Google only penalizes sites when forms make the content “Not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results.” Exit-intent forms don’t appear on the transition from search results, but rather, when a user tries to exit your site. Since this is the case, Google won’t penalize people who use them on their site.

And this is great for you, because exit-intent forms often have high conversion rates. In fact, according to OptinMonster, their customers have seen as much as a 600% increase in conversions with exit-intent forms.

[bctt tweet=”Avoid Google’s penalty by using top or bottom bar forms, embedded, click-to-open or exit intent forms.”]

Making the internet a better place

While you may worry you’ll see a dip in list growth because of this update, there are still many ways to collect subscribers from mobile devices with non-invasive forms, like the ones mentioned above. Plus, you can continue displaying pop up forms and collecting subscribers for desktop users.

And if this update will help make the internet a better place and improve the user experience for all, we know it’s one we can support.

Ready to build a better sign up form? Enroll in our free, seven-day list building course, Your First 500 Subscribers. During the course, you’ll learn how to do things like build a high-converting sign up form, grow your email list with social media, drive more traffic to your website and more.

The post 4 Ways to Avoid Google’s Mobile Sign Up Form Penalty appeared first on Email Marketing Tips.

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Using marketing automation to create successful email programs in 2017

Is marketing automation part of your email strategy? Columnist Scott Heimes explains how to choose the marketing automation tool that’s right for your email program and how to maximize the data it produces.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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Marketing Day: Marketing automation, Twitter NFL streams & that Mr. Clean Super Bowl ad

Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.

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Goat Rodeo or Gantt Chart: Five Better Ways to Creative Content

Myth: creative content is the result of a smooth, linear process, thanks to inspired designers, writers, illustrators… The idea appeals to project managers and heads of marketing who love their Gantt charts. But the reality is more goat rodeo than Gantt chart. There is a better way. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

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How to Use Video Content to Create a Loyal Audience

Video content is becoming indispensable for your marketing efforts… Here’s how you can create engaging videos and use your video content to build a loyal audience. Read the full article at MarketingProfs

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